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Luminaries

Luminarias, or farolitos, are simple outdoor decorations made from white paper bags with candles inside. Santa Fe and Albuquerque are known for their spectacular luminaria displays on Christmas Eve. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix lines its paths with thousands of luminarias for an annual holiday event called Las Noches de las Luminarias.

Luminarias can create a spectacular display of light along your curb, driveway, sidewalk, porch or patio. Grouped in clusters or arranged in lines, they provide just enough light to show your guests the way to your door. Best of all, they're inexpensive and easy to make.

What you will need:
• 10-20 white paper bags, available in hardware and restaurant supply stores. Ask for 6-pound capacity bags (6"L x 3-5/8"W x 11-1/6"H).
• A few pounds of clean playground sand
• 10-20 glass votive holders (one for each bag) and unscented votive or tealight candles

 

How to make your lights:
• Fill each paper bag with a half-inch of sand.
• Put a tablespoon of water in each glass votive holder (this will help you remove the bit of wax at the bottom when the candle burns out).
• Place a candle in each holder and light it before placing the holder in the sand at the bottom of the bag.
• Make sure to straighten the folds in each paper bag so that it opens up squarely. This will help prevent the bag from catching fire if it gets windy outside.