Christmas In The 1930s – Old Fashioned Electric Christmas Lights in Maine (1934)

Here’s a great article from the Lewiston Evening Journal which describes the Christmassy streets of Lewiston and Auburn, Maine in 1934. The emphasis is on the modern electric Christmas lights appearing both on  commercial buildings and private homes.

Local Streets Are Gay With Christmas Lights

Holiday Decorations More Plentiful and More Novel Than Ever

Because a strange star shone over Bethlehem while shepherds watched their flocks by night almost 2,000 years ago, lights have come to be symbolic of Christmas.

For generations a candle-lighted window expressed the Christmas Spirit. But when windows were draped with inflammable materials, the combination of lighted candle and fluttering drapery carried an element of danger wherein tragedy might lurk, and sometimes did.

The development of the electrically lighted Christmas decoration has removed all danger from this source, besides giving a greater scope for artistic design. Never before perhaps, at the Christmas season, were Lewiston and Auburn decked out in such a festive array of light and color as this year.

When dusk shuts the town in, whole streets become gay with patterns of red, blue, green and yellows and brightly lighted windows beckon home alike, Christmas shoppers and toilers. The business streets of both cities are literally roofed with colored lights, until the starts themselves are shut out.

Ideas for decorations are as individual as homes themselves. Of course the lighted Christmas tree predominates in the decorative scheme, for the conical shaped evergreen strung with varicoloured lights gives an effect produced in no other way. A real live growing tree, thus decorated is especially beautiful, for the passerby realizes that it will not go to the rubbish pile a little later, but will twinkle just merrily another year. One of these growing trees is on the lawn of the Auburn pumping station, and one other at least, on private property.

Blue lights are exceptionally effective, for, displayed against greenery, they carry a suggestion of stars in a midnight sky. In one home this color scheme has been carried out with blue lights snuggled among greenery in the window boxes.

A few homes have been decorated with a light in every window, and when these residences occupy the vantage point of a street corner, as two or three of them do, the effect is indescribably beautiful.

Christmas trees on porch roofs are among the most attractive effects. In Auburn there is one lighted tree which from is very location, makes an impressive scene. The house stands on slightly rising ground, and somewhat apart from any other residences. Before it stands the tall tree, plainly visible from some distance in several directions.

Rows of candles on window sills, lighted wreaths and crosses, all these, grown quite familiar in recent years, are being used, and more extensively than ever before.

On the lawn of an Auburn home, a representation of the Nativity has been constructed. A grotto shelters small figures, while just without wait the patient camels.

Greeting cards, gift-laden trees, bulging stockings on Christmas morning- these also typify the Christmas spirit, just as they have always done, but they are to be enjoyed with one’s own household or friends. Bright lights cleaving the dusk with rays of color, reach out in friendly greeting to the stranger without the gates and knit hearts together.

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