From the mid 1850s the Christmas tree became the centre piece of the middle class home during the festive season. The decorated tree was particularly appealing to children who were fast becoming the focus of Christmas. Some families hung presents from the branches and Charles Dickens described dolls, toy furniture, musical instruments and decorated fruit hanging from the tree.
However, the first Christmas trees – lit with candles – were incredibly dangerous. It wasn’t until the 1890s with the advent of electricity that British people could buy small electrically powered ‘fairy’ lights for their tree. Even then, many homes did not have electricity and fairy lights remained a luxury for most people until the years after the Second World War.