Holiday decorating is always a joy of the season, and I feel most connected to the rhythm of this time of year when I use natural materials to decorate, both inside and out.
I lived in the suburbs of Chicago from the time I was 6 until I was 12, and one of the our most treasured holiday traditions was to line our driveways (and sometimes streets) with brightly lit luminarias on Christmas Eve. It looked so magical as we would drive away to midnight mass, and it embodied the return of the light that this season celebrates.
This year we are hosting a winter solstice/advent spiral in our home, and for each of the 8 children present, there is a candle along the spiral for them to light. Last year the candle was set in the traditional apple, but this year the boys wanted to create ice luminarias along their path.
We experimented with milk cartons and coffee cans, but finally settled on two decorative brioche pans as the molds that I would use for the candle holders. We played with a few different ways to create the hole for the candle; using a standard can, a dixie cup and finally a 4 oz freezable ball jar.
The jar worked out perfectly, as it is can withstand extreme cold, is reusable, and allows for the maximum amount of light to filter through the candle holders.
Now I think we are ready to let the children walk the spiral, return to their center, and awaken renewed.
I can not wait to lay the evergreens and celebrate the return of the sun, the promise of brighter days, and the light that shines in each of us.
A mold of your choice (I used stainless steel brioche molds)
4 oz ball freezer safe jar (If using a tall mold, you may want to consider an 8 oz jar)
Candles for each luminaria
Decorations for each luminaria; cranberries, star anise, evergreens, sliced oranges, apples, etc.
Place your 4 oz jar in the center of your mold. Fill the mold up half way with ice cold water and fill with decor of your choice. If the temperature is below 32 degrees you can leave the molds outside to freeze, or place in the freezer.
Once frozen, fill the mold to the rim of the freezable jar and once again add your decor. Freeze once more. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, unmold, place a tea light into the jar, light and enjoy!
Of course no celebration of the return of the light would be complete without a sun catcher (I used the instructions from Amanda’s book), and they are the perfect way to put to use any left over fruit, cranberries, star anise, etc. that you might have left over.