Flickering Fairies

Grudgingly, I’ve humped our artificial tree from the attic, and it now has pride of place in the living room. Admittedly, it does seem to have brightened the place up a little, with its flickering blue fairy lights.

The change is a welcome break from the weather misery that we are enduring at the moment: howling winds, heavy rain and a near constant grey sky. Now, even I’m looking forward to Christmas!

A real tree would look so much better, but needles dropping all over the floor are extremely off-putting. It’s artificial all the way for me – besides, with fake trees covered in lights, tinsel and baubles, it’s difficult to spot the difference… and that’s the excuse I’m sticking with. Lol.

  • Fairy lights were invented by Joseph Swan, who perfected the incandescent electric lamp.
  • In 1881, the Savoy Theatre, London was the first building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.
  • A year later, Swan was commissioned by the theatre’s owner Richard D’Oyly Carte to create miniature lights for the dresses of the lead fairies on the opening night of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.
  • The dresses were adorned with lights powered by small battery packs hidden beneath the folds of the cloth.
  • A year later Edward Johnson, a colleague of Swan’s US rival Thomas Edison, became the first person to put fairy lights on a Christmas tree – a publicity stunt which would become a Christmas tradition.
Christmas Tree
Out Of Focus: Christmas Tree, With Blue Flickering Fairy Lights


  1. The fairy light history is interesting. Real Christmas trees are so sad. Babies cut down and their carcasses adorned then their bodies are soon tossed into the gutter. It’s an environmentaly wasteful practice too. I’m for artificial trees.


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