What’s the Story Behind Holiday Lights?

Holiday lights are available in a full range of styles to help you create postcard-worthy curb appeal during the most wonderful time of year. There are classic string lights with either white or colored bulbs, light projectors, and sets fashioned to resemble snowflakes or reindeer that can be hung from your roof or gutters.

You can walk into almost any retailer and find a wide variety of garland lights for wrapping them around your porch railing, net lights for draping them over your bushes, and pathway lights for illuminating your paver driveway in a spectrum of colors, as well.

The twinkle and, if we’re honest with ourselves, the frustration of holiday lights did not always exist, though. They were introduced in the nineteenth-century by Edward Hibberd Johnson, Thomas Edison’s assistant on 36th Street in the Big Apple (Malanowski).

Johnson’s red, white, and blue light bulbs replaced the hazardous candles that previously decorated the holiday tree. However, they were initially priced quite steeply at $12 a box for 16 bulbs, according to the Smithsonian Magazine. Remember, this was the early 1900s.

“Today, an estimated 150 million light sets are sold in America each year, adding to the tangled millions stuffed into boxes each January,” according to the same article in the Smithsonian Magazine (Malanowski). Additionally, you can locate brilliant holiday light displays to take the family to in your area at Denver.org.

Safe Gutters Installation

Capture the joy of the season by hanging twinkling lights from your gutters or roof’s fascia with the utmost care. You should always put safety first and enlist the help of a buddy or hire a professional lighting company. If you choose to go the DIY route, make sure to measure first, ensuring you purchase the proper amount of roof clips. For tips on how to measure your roofline, click here to read last year’s holiday blog.

Roof clips are the safest way to hang lights. They are easily installed and won’t damage your asphalt roof. You can find them at local retailers and online for under $15 for a 100-pack. You’ll want to make sure to purchase the right type for your specific roofing material. They may also be hung on gutters. Finally, you can find an extending pole that allows you to safely hang lights without ever needing to climb onto a ladder.

Professional Roofing Repairs

With more than sixteen years of experience, Jenesis Roofing, Inc. is the contractor to call for all your roofing needs. We specialize exclusively in maintaining, repairing, re-roofing, and replacing residential roofs throughout Denver and the surrounding communities of Colorado.

We also install gutters, pavers, and attic ventilation systems. Contact us today at (303) 789-1505 to schedule an appointment with one of our certified roofers and receive an accurate roof repair or replacement quote in writing. We are licensed and insured.


Malanowski, J. “Untangling the History of Christmas Lights.” Smithsonian Magazine, December 2016, smithsonianmag.com/history/untangling-history-christmas-lights-180961140/.

Holiday Lights: Dos and Don’ts

holiday lights

The holidays are less than four weeks away! Before you begin stringing holiday lights and hanging garland, there are a few dos and don’ts you should keep in mind, ensuring you don’t damage your roofing system in the process.

Do Inspect Holiday Light Sets

Carefully inspect previously used light strings and extension cords. Frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cords should be responsibly disposed of. There should also be no broken sockets or loose connections. The lights could short out and cause a fire. Additionally, any string lights or extension cords you plan to use outdoors must safely stand up to the elements; look for the UL-rating.

Don’t Use a Staple or Nail Gun

Fans of the holiday classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will recall Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) using his trusty staple gun to attach lights directly onto the roof. Not only was this dangerous, it was incredibly damaging to his roof! Stapling or nailing holiday lights into your shingles can damage them and ultimately cause a leak. Instead, use clips designed to securely fasten lights to shingles and gutters.

Do Use a Sturdy Ladder

Always use a good, sturdy ladder when installing your lights. It’s also a good idea to make sure someone is helping you with your display – one person on the ground to hold the ladder steady and the other hanging lights. Better yet, hang lights from the ground, and in less time than it took Clark with a pole that extends to help you hook the clip directly onto the gutter or shingle.

Don’t Overload Your Outlets

When Clark plugged in his lights, overloading the circuit, he took out most of Chicago –  leaving his neighbors in the dark. Unlike Clark, you probably won’t run this risk, but you can certainly pop some breakers and possibly create a fire hazard. Always use lights according to manufacturer instructions.

Do Purchase LED Holiday Lights

Incandescent holiday lights are terribly inefficient, and despite careful storage, often emerge damaged. LEDs, while a little more expensive, are a much better option. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. Because they also produce very little heat, they are much safer to use for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

Don’t Leave Your Lights on Unattended

Don’t leave holiday lights on when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house. Should a problem develop, it’s essential for someone to react quickly, thus thwarting potential property damage or personal injury. Add a timer so you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn your lights on and off.

Do Properly Store Your Holiday Lights

At the end of the season, when you must put your lights back into storage, make sure to use cord holders to avoid a tangled mess. You can also make your own using leftover cardboard or empty paper towel rolls. It’s also a good idea to store them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water or rodent damage.

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