Lights add to the holiday magic


Twinkling lights are just one of the pieces that make this time of year so magical. Of course, we have Thomas Edison to thank for his discovery of the light bulb, but did you know he also was the first to create a strand of electric lights?

Christmas of 1880, Edison strung his strands around the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory and railroad passengers traveling by got their first view of an electrical light display. Edison’s Illumination Company later used red, white and blue bulbs to wrap around a Christmas tree – a step up in the safety practices of the day when households were using lit candles on their trees.

Edison’s strung lights were slow to gain cultural popularity. In 1895, President Grover Cleveland decorated the White House family Christmas tree with multi-colored bulbs. However, it wasn’t until Christmas Eve 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights that the nation really took notice.

Today, walk your neighborhood — if it’s not too cold — and see the lights on homes, explore the Columbus Zoo and experience their Wildlights, or drive through Alum Creek’s Fantasy of Lights. Another option is to visit the Delaware County District Library Orange Branch and see the newest edition to our outdoor sculpture garden, “Illumination Garden.”

Thanks to our creative staff at the Orange Branch Library, and a generous donation of $1,000 from Meijer, the Imagination Garden has transformed this winter season into a sparkling scene of lit trees, glowing snowmen, and there’s even an appearance of Santa’s reindeer and sleigh.

The Illumination Garden is lit every night at dusk and remains lit throughout the night until dawn. The display is open for the public to explore now through January.

• Florence Foster Jenkins. Based on the incredible true story, Meryl Streep delivers a hilarious and touching performance as a New York socialite who dreams of becoming a great opera singer, despite having a hilariously awful singing voice.

• Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Jacob discovers clues to a mystery and stumbles upon Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. However the mystery is deeper than he had thought, as he gets to know the residents and learn about their special powers.

• Southside with You. Barack and Michelle Obama’s love story comes alive in this uplifting movie that follows the future president and first lady on their 1989 first date in Chicago’s South Side. From executive producer John Legend.

• Storks. Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.

• Suicide Squad. A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute high-risk, black-ops missions in exchange for clemency.

• Sully. The story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of his 155 passengers.

Nicole Fowles

Glad You Asked

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at or directly to Nicole at [email protected]. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!

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