Now this topic probably sounds like a complete given, however what makes the use of
candles more Victorianesque is how one displays them. And for the sake of fun, I will
also include oil lighting in this post. Keep in mind that in the mid-Victorian Era, oil lamps, candles and gas lighting were the primary sources of light. That same warm dancing illumination is the same image that holds dear in our collective romantic notions. And that is what makes it so perfect for your Victorianesque Christmas home. Both are relatively inexpensive to acquire and while they have many practical uses year round, they are particularly nice this time of year.
These days the fire hazards of candles on trees and in general is easily avoided as
battery-powered candles and mock candle sticks are found everywhere from prop and
decorating stores to corner drugstores during this season. I picked up two handy
candles last year for all of $1.99 apiece. Granted, mine are secured to skulls with
dripped wax, but they still give a lovely warm glow. Another item seen everywhere now are battery-powered tea lights that actually do have a bit of a flickering effect.
As I am certain everyone has seen, centerpieces with hurricane glass, pillar candles
and circles of evergreens with bows, bells and other decorations abound in just about
every grocery store and flower shop. Craft shops are brimming with silk florals and
supplies to create the same types of centerpieces that will last for years. Here is
where you get to be creative. Much like trees, use colour in your centerpieces to
customize to your own personal style. Use Victorian accents such as glistening fruit,
silk ribbon, reds, purples, blacks, etc. and for those who like the "It's been
sitting there for 40 years" look, spider webs. Here is where those flameless pillar
candles come in handy. One can use the heatless, flameless pillar in the center of
their arrangement, allowing for the use of more webbing across the top of the
hurricane. Sadly, webbing cannot be used in all cases, such as the lovely oil lamp,
however it makes a great replacement for the hurricane lamp in centerpieces.
And on to another of my favourite ways to display candles: the candlabra. What could
be more Victorian? Much like the Hallowe'en posts, if you are going for the haunted
effect, by all means, FORGET to polish the silver. Now choose tapered candles to suit
your colour scheme. I always say ivory is nice for a soft, light display, but if you
are going for a darker, more Gothic or haunting appearance, go with colours that
complement your decor. Purples, burgundies and dark reds still give off the warming
glow of any other candle, but create a very different effect as the wax slowly drips
and creates tiny stalagtites from the tarnished silver of your candlabra. Add to the
fun by draping small evergreen garland through the arms. For a more dismally
delightful look, drape Spanish moss or grapevine, add a bit of black or deep (blood)
red lace with a little sparkle and you are good to go.
Mosaic holders are also wonderful for this time of year. Like simpler lanterns, they
are made to hang, adding that soft glow to higher corners of your haunted Holiday
home, rather than every candle having to sit at tabletop level. I am including a
photo of a few of the pieces I set throughout the house. The beauty of most lanterns
is that they are usually made with darker (bronzed or black-finish) metals. This adds
to the older appearance and as I have been most negligent in dusting mine and
polishing glass, they certainly give that feeling of an old abandoned house, no?
In past posts I have mentioned the beauty of tag sales, thrift shops and cleaning out
closets. Nearly anything made of glass heavier than that of a drinking glass will do
well as a tea light holder. Fortunately, most scented candles come in coloured glass
this time of year and are completely reusable. Any type of display can be conjured up
through the creative use of one of these recycled holders. Every once in a while, one
might also come across a random piece for Hallowe'en or some other Autumn celebration that is red enough to work for Christmas. I have included a snapshot of three pieces of random dust collectors that will give just the right reddish, Christmas-y glow. For craftier folks, it is very easy to paint, add glimmer and bejewel these simple pieces to be part of the yearly decor.
Well, now that I've rambled on again, it is time to turn you loose with a bin of
candles, a box of matches and your imagination. As always, please share pictures of
your creations and I will be more than happy to feature them here.
With that said, I am off to figure out what is next. I know I mentioned lighting, but the candles refused to be ignored. So we shall see what I can conjure up in the meantime.
Have a wonderfully glowy, softly lit evening. Take advantage of your flickering
friends and make shadow puppets on the wall.
Til next.. Keeping it festive and reminiscent with just the right touch of spooky.