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Holidays By Candlelight

Candle lighting is a theme that runs through three major holidays of this time of year: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Gardening expert Georgia Raimondi has some ideas for creating beautiful lights in your home.

Christmas Candle Centerpiececolor>

A cheaper alternative to buying candles is making your own. Craft stores sell beeswax candle kits that are inexpensive and fun to use. Use a hair dryer to soften the sheets of wax until they are pliable. Cut the wick slightly longer than the sheet of wax and place at the edge of the wax sheet. Slowly roll the wax sheet over on itself. Be sure it is tight and that there is ample wick at the top.

From your local craft store or florist purchase a product called a "hidden holder" and some florist foam. Cut the florist foam so it fits snugly in the hidden holder. Place your new candle in the center of the foam. Cut some evergreens or holly from your yard and stick the branches in the foam surrounding the candle until the holder and the foam are hidden.

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Fill a small vase or drinking glass with water to about two inches from the top and add food coloring. Purchase floating votive candles and place them on the colored water.

Make Your Own Menorahcolor>

To celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, candles are lit in a menorah, a special lamp or candelabra that holds eight candles plus a helper candle called the shamash, which is used to light the other candles.

Instead of buying a traditional menorah, use a nonflammable tray of a material such as pewter as a base. Place colored marbles or stones in the traditional blue and silver colors of Hanukkah over the bottom of the tray. Add small blue votive holders with candles and place them on top of the stones in a straight line.

Create a Kwanzaa Kinaracolor>

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebrating heritage, family, beauty and the bounty of the Earth. The seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Instead of purchasing a kinara, or a candleholder, use a split log. Place the flat side of the log down on a table and drill seven holes across the top evenly spaced apart. To hold the candles, purchase screw-in candleholders available at craft stores. Place the candleholders in the drilled holes. Then surround the kinara with ears of corn and other fruits and vegetables.

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