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December 16, 2021

Tis the Season – 3 Christmas inventions that have shaped Christmas traditions

With the holidays approaching, people have started flocking to shops to purchase presents, Christmas lights, tinsel, crackers, and candy canes.  While intellectual property isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Christmas, without certain Christmas inventions Christmas might look a little different than it does today.  In keeping with the holiday spirit, here’s a short list of some very important Christmas inventions:

  • Christmas Lights

The Christmas tree, which is probably the most popular Christmas symbol, would be nothing without Christmas lights which turn a plain old tree into a magical Christmas center piece. Traditionally candles were used to light up Christmas trees, but since candles are a fire hazard, inventors such as Edward Johnson created Christmas tree lights. These lights soon became a popular marketing technique used by shop owners to attract customers into their shops. However, the lights soon found their way into people’s homes after the NOMA Electric Company started mass producing strings of multi-colour lights which are now used to light up trees in houses all around the globe.

  • Gift Wrapping Paper

Nothing beats waking up early on Christmas Day to open Christmas presents!  This tradition would be nothing without the invention of gift wrapping, as half the thrill is not knowing what’s wrapped inside.  Although gifts were traditionally wrapped with writing paper, Hy-Sill Manufacturing Inc., was the first company to produce wrapping paper specifically for gifts. Now retail giants like Hallmark, who started producing wrapping paper in 1917, supply wrapping paper to millions of consumers around the world each year.

  • Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Although Rudolph is a well-known Christmas character today, you won’t find him in traditional Christmas stories about Santa and his reindeer.  Rudolph is the creation of a copywriter called Robert May, who in 1939 made up the character while writing a Christmas story for a department store.  The story, which has since been adapted into a song, was inspired by May’s childhood experiences and the story of the Ugly Duckling. [1]

Although these inventions are decades old and have become a part of how we celebrate Christmas, there continues to be new inventions and creations with Christmas in mind.  Currently there are patents for new Christmas items which focus on making certain Christmas activities easier such as the snowman making apparatus, and the brussels sprout stripper.  Other inventions continue to focus on safety, such as the Christmas tree fire extinguisher  which aims to reduce the amount of house fires caused by Christmas tree lights.  A new and interesting patent invented by Christopher Eves is the 3-way Christmas cracker which ensure that no one gets left out when there’s an odd number of people at Christmas dinner.  Although these creative ideas aim to make the holidays and safer and easier experience, only time will tell if these new inventions will become an integral part of how people celebrate Christmas.

So although, you might not have ever considered the importance of certain Christmas inventions, these creations are proof that intellectual property has a role in shaping holiday traditions and making Christmas celebrations a fun a safe experience!

Happy Christmas from Burley Law.


[1] https://lanpdt.com/christmas-inventions/

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