From elegant illuminated bridges in Slovenia to adorned reindeer in Singapore, it's clear that Christmas lights have taken on a life of their own.

The use of Christmas lights can be traced back as far as the early 17th century when candles were attached to tree branches with wax or pins. The electronic lights used today, of course, begin with Thomas Edison, who invented the modern light bulb in 1880. In fact, Edison was known to string bulbs around his laboratory as decoration.

The first true electronic Christmas lights were introduced by Edison's business partner Edward H. Johnson in 1882. Johnson hung 80 red, white, and blue bulbs around a Christmas tree and displayed it at his home in New York City.

In 1900, General Electric presented the first known advertisement for Christmas lights. However at the time, Christmas tree lights were so expensive that they were also available to rent for the season. Flash-forward 25 years and lights are flying off the shelf with more than 15 companies producing them at much more affordable prices.

The marvelous and sometimes tacky tradition has gripped hold of city squares throughout the world. Scroll down to view a collection of some of the best public light displays this holiday season.