Decorative and ceremonial lights have played a role in holiday celebrations for centuries, but the specific practice of illuminating trees began in Germany in the 17th century. The trend took hold, and within a few hundred years, it had spread throughout Europe and America.
For the first few centuries, the go-to method for trimming one’s tree involved nestling candles among its branches. This resulted in a warm, beautiful glow, but the mix of open flames and a highly flammable fuel source created serious problems. Innovators approached this challenge from a variety of angles. To hold candles in place, some tried wiring them to the tree, using melted wax as an adhesive, or they relied on clip-on candleholders (invented in 1878).
Merrymakers tended to leave candles lit briefly, monitor them closely, and kept a bucket of water on hand, just in case. Even so, house fires became so common that a group of insurance companies joined forces in 1908 and refused to cover the resulting damage.
“Merry Christmas” in Greek