Saturday, December 21, 2002  [!]

Food and wine Recently I found (or re-found) chowhound.com. There's a Los Angeles Area thread. The page is long, takes forever to load. But has great threads. Topical, in view of my wine country fotos: a wine thread.

Holiday generosity Garret discovers some holiday generosity from an unusual source.

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santa lights: http://www.oldchristmaslights.com/

Christmas Lights The history of Christmas lights: oldchristmaslights.com The site's proprietor, Bill Nelson, describes the origin of outdoor Christmas lights in this company newsletter (pdf). Thanks to Doc M who unearthed this!

"There isn't any great mystery about the tradition of lighting houses on the outside," says Nelson. "It was purely commercial. The first outdoor lighting contests were sponsored by NOMA (National Outfit Manufactur- ers Association), General Electric and Edison Electric solely to promote the sale of their light bulbs." The triumvirate kicked off the campaign by paying residents of one New York City neighborhood to light the outside of their houses. "They gave them the lights for free and they paid their electric bill for December," says Nelson. "And in New York - a big trend setting city - that caught everybody's eye. The next year people were wanting to do it on their own."
But the trend was postponed by the Depression and WW2.