Decorating with Holiday Candles | Midwest Living

Decorating with Holiday Candles

Our decorating ideas show how glowing candles can bring magic to your holiday celebrations.
  • Floating candle

    Light up family dinners or holiday parties with this pretty candle. Place greenery at the bottom of a glass jar; fill jar about two-thirds full of water. Add cranberries and a floating candle.

  • Pillar power

    Simple white pillars of varying heights make an impressive and inexpensive display. Use what you already have at home along with some new ones. Ribbon scraps pinned around a few candles will add festive flair.

  • Candy-cane candles

    Give plain red pillar candles an extra color punch with candy-cane sticks or polka-dot ribbon. Use glue or heavy-duty double-stick tape to attach candy canes to the candle.

  • Light the night

    Illuminate your table with holiday warmth. Group coordinating glass pieces you already own—think votives, vases, flutes and tumblers—then pop in candles or tea lights.

  • Jeweled candles

    Press-on gems dress up glass cup candles for the season. Place the gems in rows for a unified look or vary the placement for a more casual appearance.

  • Carnation candle holders

    Encircle glass hurricanes with carnation "wreaths." Create the wreaths with florist foam wreath bases, scarlet carnations and small ball ornaments.

  • Candles and cranberries

    Start with cylinders of varying heights. Place red flowers, such as roses and amaryllises, and greenery in a metal flower frog. Attach the frog inside the cylinder using double-sided florist's tape. Cover the flowers with water, float cranberries on top and place a floating candle amid the berries. Change water daily. The piece should last up to seven days.

  • Easy jar display

    Use canning jars for quick and easy candle holders. Tie a ribbon around the top of each jar, fill each jar about two-thirds full of water and add a floating candle. Embellish the display with sprigs of evergreen and glass ornaments if you like.

  • Sparkle and shine

    Turn crystal wineglasses upside down and place pillar candles on the bottoms. A small beaded garland around the base of each candle adds extra sparkle, while a silvery tray reflects flickering light.

  • Candles and fruit

    Place pillar candles, evergreen branches, pinecones and clementines on a beveled-edge mirror for a nature-inspired tabletop arrangement. Don't like orange? Bring in green pears or red apples for traditional holiday color.

  • Lovely luminarias

    Try a layered look for luminarias. Be sure the materials you choose cannot catch fire if candle wax or flames touch them, or use battery-powered candles for safety. To make our luminarias in glass vases, place fat white candles on top of half of the river rocks you wish to use. Continue placing black rocks inside to anchor the candle. Magnolia leaves and a sprinkling of red winterberries complete the look. Don't use holly; in cold weather, it turns black.

  • Bowl Them Over

    This mirrored centerpiece glistens with candles securely set on its wide edge. Glass votives around a glass bowl with frosty ornaments create a similar look.

  • Candle Cakewalk

    Use a cake plate as the base for a winter vignette of candles, trees, ornaments and faux snow. Place in front of a mirror for glittering reflections.

  • Antique illusion

    Give bargain glass vases the lustrous look of mercury glass with a spray-on mirror finish. We used Krylon’s Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint. Lightly spray water inside clean vases, then spray the same area with mirror finish. (Paint should run, creating an aged, crackled effect.) Turn upside down to dry. For a heavier finish, repeat. Remember, don’t leave lit candles unattended.  

  • Kitchen Brilliance

    Line a colander with clear cellophane and nestle snowball candles and glass snowflake ornaments in non-flammable, crafts-store snow.

  • Natural Style

    Use nature's bounty for a coffee-table arrangement. Shells hold votives on a lightly flocked wreath accented with starfish and coral.

  • Mix and Match

    Choose a theme for a candle display. Then group candles and holders that are related, but have different shapes and sizes. Here, the forest mix of an evergreen, wintry branches and pinecones works because of the simplicity of the white candles.

  • Sconce Magic

    Make a faux candle sconce by placing a taper in a tall candlestick in front of a round mirror or silver tray. Put one on either side of a fireplace mantel for double the shine.

  • Spell it Out

    Use white wax candle beads and loose wicks to fill shallow containers and spell out greetings that can go anywhere around the house. Look for interesting vessels to showcase this unique candle option.

  • Candle Tips

    BE SAFE when using candles. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Burn candles in appropriate candleholders and on stable, heat-resistant surfaces. Keep them away from anything flammable such as furniture, drapes, bedding, holiday decorations and so on. Avoid placing them in traffic patterns. Keep them safely out of reach of small children and pets.
    BEFORE YOU ENTERTAIN, light and extinguish candles once. They will light more quickly later.
    REFRIGERATE candles before use so they will burn more slowly and evenly. Wrap them in foil or plastic to keep wicks from moisture.
    KEEP LIT candles out of drafts to prevent rapid, uneven burning and excessive dripping.
    BLOW OUT a candle by holding your finger in front of the flame and blowing at your finger. The air flow around your finger will extinguish the candle from both sides, eliminating hot wax splattering. Or use a candlesnuffer. Do not use water. It splatters hot wax and can cause glass containers to break.
    EXTINGUISH votive candles when a half-inch of wax remains. Put out pillar candles when the wax pool nears the outer edge.
    BATTERY-POWERED CANDLES are a great alternative for any situation where you are concerned about open flames.

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