There’s nothing quite like a drive around town with your hot chocolate and family, taking in the wonderful Christmas lights that Gilbert has to offer. Whether you happen to live on the lakes at Val Vista Lakes, or perhaps at The Islands, Gilbert Christmas lights are pretty amazing, especially on Holiday Mountain. I know we’ve raved about our Christmas lights before, but we just can’t say enough about what it means to the community to be able to share the holidays together in this way.

Once again, just in case you missed it the first few hundred times, Holiday Mountain is a spectacular array of lights surrounding a beautiful waterfall. We have Santa Claus and toy drives every Friday and Saturday, and welcome everyone from the community to come enjoy the holidays with us. With over 500,000 Christmas lights, it’s definitely a sight to see.

So, in the spirit of the holiday we wanted to give you a little history lesson on where Christmas lights came from and how they came to be such a huge part of our holiday tradition. The tradition began many, many years ago when early Christians would place a candle in the window. This eventually translated into small candles being placed on early Christmas trees. The candles were glued with melted wax to each tree branch. Not exactly fire safe, huh.

Life many traditions, the illuminated Christmas tree that we know and love today came from Queen Victoria, but it wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that electrical power was used to light the trees. The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was displayed in 1882 by an associate of Thomas Edison. Edward H. Johnson became known as the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights after that display, and by 1900 local business owners found other uses for Christmas lights, mainly in business windows and doors.

Because electrical lights were so expensive in the early days, there were few individuals who could afford them. President Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored the first eclectically lit Christmas tree in 1895, and through the early 1900’s the idea of Christmas lights spread like wildfire. It wasn’t until the early 1950’s that Christmas lights began to make their way to mantles and doorways, windows and rafters.

From there the tradition of adorning your homes with Christmas lights has exploded into what it is today, where there are local and national competitions held to determine which houses and businesses make the best use of Christmas lights. All around the valley, and in Gilbert, you can see the progression of how Christmas lights came to be. From the large and very fragile lights that you don’t see on many homes anymore, to the small ‘twinkle lights’ that remained popular for many years, to the LED Christmas lights that we have today.

At Val Vista Lakes we invite you to take a walk around Holiday Mountain, say hello to Santa, and take in the majesty of Christmas lights.