See some colorful vintage Christmas lights, and how trees & towns used to shine back in the olden days

colorful vintage Christmas lights from the 50s and 60s

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Christmas lights don’t just illuminate — they make the holiday season bright.

Generations ago, people added small candles to their trees to up the festive factor. But once electricity was widely-available and plentiful, millions of strands of vintage Christmas lights — clear and colored, flashing and solid, indoor and outdoor — became the norm for decorating trees, homes and businesses.

Here’s a look back at some of the most popular kinds of old-fashioned Christmas lights, along with several examples from the ’40s, ’50s & ’60s of this kind of warm and wonderful holiday decor.

Christmas is different… (1956)

Nov 26, 1956 Christmas tree lights

How to sew some cute, crafty Christmas tree ornaments (1974)

Christmas lights, ’50s-style (from 1958)

Christmas lights 1958

Christmas lights of the future (1971)

Christmas lights of the future… today from NOMA

Dec 10, 1971 Noma Christmas lights

Christmas tree lights (1948)

Light is the eternal symbol of Christmas. For after the last Christmas decoration has been taken down and the last string of Christmas tree lamps has been laid away, there is always the Star of Bethlehem to remind us that peace on earth, good will toward men is a crusade whose high purpose knows no season.

So this Christmas time, let us resolve to keep The Spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year… Let each of us make the tiny sparkling lights on his tree a symbol of his dedication to the way of those uncounted millions for whom peace and goodwill have no calendar… whose eyes are ever lifted to the Star… the Star of Hope.

Decorative Lighting Guild of America – A Membership Corporation composed of more than 20 manufacturers of Christmas Lighting

Dec 20, 1948 Christmas tree lights

Your holiday decorations can have a new look

Make your home look brighter, more joyful, the easy way! Choose from new GE light sets and bulbs. Whether you pick plain or fancy, pick General Electric… always dependable.


  • 15 Merry Bright Light Set — Constant see-thru brilliance!
  • 20 Tinsel-Lights — Halos of sparkle!
  • 35 Merry Midget Light Set — Pinpoints of Beauty
  • Lighted Ice — Like lighted ornaments
  • Merry Bright Christmas lights — Light up jewel-bright!
  • Twinkle Outdoor — Flashing action!

Colorful Christmas lights from GE 1966 and 1968

A Christmas change you’ll love (and so will your neighbors)

  • Ask for Lighted Ice bulbs and sets — Sparkle like jewels
  • Cooler — 6 wonderful colors — New! 10-light sets

Fancy Bulbs or standard… be sure to get General Electric… always dependable.

1960 Christmas lights

Decorate for night and day with G-E SNOWBALL lamps

By day, they look like white snowballs. (See inset.) At night, they light up in soft, non-glaring color… violet, red, blue, green, yellow and white. Cool in use. Beautiful outdoors and indoors. Try ’em!

Suggestion: For a striking effect, use General Electric SNOWBALL lamps (D40) of just one color on your outdone tece. Then add G-E Lighted Ice, as in photo, to doorway decorations. A G-E floodlight bulb will emphasize your welcome, and bring out the doorway beauty.

For eye-catching action: G-E TWINKLE lamps

These new lamps wink on and off and on again . . . twinkle like stars, in brilliant rich colors. For outdoor strings, ask for General Electric D27 bulbs. For C7-1/2 string sets, ask for the smaller D26 bulbs. (Add them to your indoor tree!)

Suggestion: This tree is made of tin cans! Build wood “tree” frame; then pack with cans which have had both ends cut out. Spray inside of cans white. Then cover front of tree with screen-reinforced transparent plastic and spray it white on inner side. Place D27 of steady burning D15 bulb in each can (just clip socket onto can). Use both types rather than one; it’s more pleasing!

For sparkling loveliness: G-E LIGHTED ICE lamps

Something new has been added! Because the coating of plastic bits on these lamps adds hundreds of facets that provide a marvelous glistening effect. Fit C7% sockets. Cool in use. Striking outdoors or indoors. Look for “GE” on the base or package.

Suggestion: For an unusual table decoration, add General Electric Lighted Ice (D30) to your greens. Branches in this arrangement are held io plastic foam; socket is then clipped onto them. Reflectors behind lamps give extra sparkle.

Dec 5, 1960 Christmas lights

Noma holiday lights are different, too (1956)

Only NOMA lights give you the widest selection for thrillingly different, modern or traditional Christmas lighting effects, both indoors and out. You can choose with confidence from NOMA’s complete line of lights that gaily twinkle, shine brightly or bubble merrily . . . plus outstanding illuminated novelties for window, roof or lawn!

It’s here and now
It’s a far off land
two thousand years ago
It’s tomorrow and all our yesterdays

Young eyes widen in awe
Older eyes soften and grow misty
with fond remembrance as trees
blossom magically with colored lights
and popcorn strings — with glimmering
snow and shining icicles

Yes, Christmas is different

It’s solemn and bright
It’s full of laughter, full of love
It brings families together from
the far corners of the world
and the four corners of a room

Whether your Christmas sparkles with
excitement or reflects the warm
silence of a shared serenity
this day differs from all others
in a thousand wondrous ways
A thousand thousand ways that
even the oldest and wisest among us
cannot explain

And we don’t try…
We just know it’s Christmas

Nov 26, 1956 Christmas lights

Glolite Christmas lights (1954)

Dec 6, 1954 Glolite Christmas lights

What a difference GE Christmas lights can make! (1961)

Nov 24, 1961 GE Christmas lights

GE Christmas lights (1950)

Here’s for happier holidays in your home – Easier ways to make your home gayer and brighter with G-E Christmas tree lights

Nov 27, 1950 GE Christmas lights

Vintage Christmas tree lights (early 1950s)

Vintage Christmas tree lights

Adding touches of festive color to a white Christmas (1948 )

Coffee time: When good neighbors gather on the village green to add touches of festive color to a White Christmas. Hot, fragrant coffee contributes to the holiday cheer…and because Maxwell House is America’s favorite — coffee time is Maxwell House time wherever you go. Painted by Joseph Hirsch.

A treasury of 150+ vintage Christmas cookie recipes

Dec 20, 1948 Outdoor lights on a Christmas tree

Christmas lights for home (1967)

Twinkle flashing action — Satin-Glo, beautiful night and day — Outdoor bright with beautiful see-through color — Indoor, the industry standard – Bright color, outdoor tough — Sparkling color & action
1967 Christmas lights for home

Bonus: Christmas lights from the ’40s
Dec 1, 1941 Christmas lights

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