Every year the same story - beautifully lit trees everywhere. And while the European tradition demands to decorate the tree and light the tree on December 24, the much less religiously oriented (but often much more religiously obsessed) - and not to overlook business-drive American tradition is to observe not to have trees before Thanksgiving. Maybe it has to do with the turkey... Now observing Jews and observing members of other belief systems may not have a tree as it may be perceived as not appropriate or worse - but every other child will wants sparkling,colorful lights - no matter where they come from. "Shiny" is the design du jour. Here again ontogenesis is a recapitulation of phylogenesis - a by the way defunct scientific theory promoted in the 19th century by Ernst Häckel - but looking at the history, decorating with evergreen trees to "symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews" [Wikipedia].
Stringed lights are obviously depending on electricity. While the first recored Christmas tree may have been in 1777 and historic documents in Europe go back to traditions in the 15th century, string lights are a much more recent invention and there is little reason not to have them to decorate and light up the darkest season of the year. Technological details are here.
Unless you are a competitive decorator, attend dedicated conventions and training classes for holiday decoration and attempt to compete in the Christmas Light Fight Show on ABC TV (for non-believing Europeans - yes this is really on US television!)
So - does everyone have christmas trees? And problems with the lights?
source for this nice quote is a little booklet published 1912, that I inherited from my father.
I ran into a serious issue - part of the lights of the chain did not light up - what to do? I typed "Holiday light chain does not work" and immediately found advice from an expert - an Iranian engineer.
He has a similar problem - his daughter complaining that Santa will not bring presents when the lights don't work - and they're not even Christian - the solution he offers definitely falls into the category "do not try this at home" but the video is very good.
He mentions in a different video that "people like to see when others get hurt" so he leaves the parts where he almost electrocutes himself in the video.
My search continues. The next video is pretty shaky and I had to turn the sound all the way up, but the solution is exactly what I had figured out - and it works.
My neighbor already sent me a text message "very festive."