An Idea For Making Luminaries : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

When we lived in Maryland we saw the neatest ideas for making luminaries and have been making our own every year since.

About a week before Christmas these were set out on the steps of a nearby country church and all along the roadway in two different directions. Each year the "trail" of luminaries was longer. I suppose each property owner did their own. It was beautiful to see them after they were all lit on Christmas Eve.

They are made by taking a gallon size, plastic milk carton, cutting open an area on one side to make a flap, filling with sand (we use cat litter and then after Christmas pour the litter into containers to keep in our car during the winter if needed for traction), and adding a votive candle which is held by the sand. The lids are kept on until you light them. These may not sound too pretty - a plastic milk jug - but at night all you see is the glowing light. We have people save jugs for us and I buy my votive candles after Christmas when they are on clearance. We place the luminaries on our front steps, along our walkway to the driveway area, along the edge and most of the way across the front of our property.

I love doing this each year! We light them on Christmas Eve at dusk and they last well up into the night. We make sure they are all out before going to bed of course.

We don't have a lot of traffic on our road on Christmas Eve but we see cars slow down to look so we hope they are enjoying the sight as much as we do.

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, November 27, 2001


What is the tradition behind the luminaries?

-- Cindy (S.E.IN) (, November 27, 2001.


Do you mean luminaries in general or the ones we saw in Maryland? I only knew one person that attended that particular church and just never thought to ask her about it.

When we first moved to Maryland about 12 years ago, we saw the candles lit in the windows for the first time (now I see them in all parts of the country). We use to drive to Gettysburg, PA, which was not too far from where we lived, to see all historic homes in the downtown area with their candles in the windows. Most people kept them up from around November through January and others had them in the windows all year long. At one time I knew the tradition behind the candles but have forgotten it. Maybe someone else here knows?

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, November 28, 2001.

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