I remember Christmases from back in the 60’s when we lived in Ahoskie. Not that the images are extremely clear but one of the things I remember the most vividly are the lights. There were 2 types of lighting configurations that people used back then. First there were the traditionalist. Those folks that would string red, blue, green, and some sort of yellowish / orange looking color lights on their tree. The trees back then weren’t the well groomed trees of today. No, the ones I remember looked more like Charlie Brown’s tree. Very scraggly with big holes without limbs in them and lots of space between the rows of branches too. The other lighting configuration was well.. I don’t know how to explain it. The trees were a shiny silver metal looking thing. They typically had just one kind of decoration, like all red or blue balls on them. And there were no lights on them at all. No, what people did was set a flood light on the floor under it shining up through the tree. The light had a rotating filter that went around over the top of the bulb. the filter was usually 2 or 3 different colors (red blue and green I think) and would change the color of the tree. This was not my idea of what a Christmas tree should be and fortunately neither was it my dads.
So, back to the traditional tree lights… they started out when I was young being very dark colors. They looked like they had been dipped in color paint to reflect the various colors. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking this is true because I can remember scratching some of them and the bulbs actually appeared clear underneath. As technology advanced, the bulbs became made out of clear color glass. This was when you could start getting the twinkle lights. This was not the “all on or all off” type you see today. This was each individual light would twinkle separately. Not only did they twinkle, they even made a little faint sound. These were may favorite lights of all. I can remember sitting on the floor for hours, listening to Bing Crosby and Perry Como and just staring at those lights, filled with the anticipation of it all.
We were still using these lights when we moved to Elizabeth City. My dad and I even burned a hole in the carpet with these old lights, but that’s another story! But alas, this technology passed too. and then the little lights we all use today became more popular. Some go with all white…. some with color…. some that will twinkle entire sections of lights. And now LED lights are coming too. I know they are much more energy efficient… but boy, all I can tell you is my individual twinkle lights beat them all!