The darkest nights of the year call for the brightest invitations to friends and neighbours. A light in the window welcomes carolers, visitors and passersby. There are traditional lights that adapt well to a wide windowsill. Some holiday lights can be diverted from the tree to good effect. And there are safe ways to create beautiful, glowing candlelight that will turn a window into a celebration and a beacon.
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Luminarias are a southwest holiday tradition that illuminated the path for carolers and religious processions. The traditional luminaria is a paper bag with the open end folded down slightly to keep the bag open and sand in the bottom to anchor it in a breeze and hold a lit candle. Dozens of them are set along a path in the dark to burn all night. That magical and festive look can light up a holiday window, with or without real candles. Use battery-run tea lights, instead of real candles for a safer option. Slip them inside white bags set in a row on a windowsill. These tea lights eliminate the fire hazard, especially if there are children who live in the house or who will be visiting. There are also coloured bags and bags with snowflake cutouts through which the lights twinkle out over the snow or yard.
A Tangle of Icicle Lights
An empty glass canister or cookie jar, a string of white, coloured or LED icicle lights and a few evergreen branches are the simplest and most elegant window light for the holidays. Coil the lights inside the glass container and sit it on the windowsill, encircled loosely by the fragrant greens. The glass globe or cylinder glows with light that shines on the greens. The tiny lights will cast interesting patterns outside or on the shade or window frame. A showstopper of a holiday window treatment that requires little time or money.
Candles in Chimneys
Glass chimneys or hurricane lamps protect candle flames from drafts, and everything around from candle flames. They can be very useful in a holiday window when nothing but real candlelight will do. A special holiday twist is to lightly coat a glass chimney's exterior with watered-down school glue and layer strips of red, green, or red and green wrapping tissue on the glass. When it dries, a candle placed inside will glow out through the patterns of the wrinkled paper like lit-from-behind stained glass. A circle of small shiny round ornaments at the base of the chimney reflects even more interesting light.
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