Luminaries (literally, objects that give light) have a long, multicultural history. But at the center of all the traditions is one simple notion -- lighting the way in the dark of winter.
Light the Way
Guide holiday guests to your door or provide a warm "welcome home!" for family members by placing can-style luminaries (about $30 for 30) along a driveway or walk. These 10-inch-tall cylinders are made of white plastic flashing (#233813). Drill holes in the plastic to create your own design -- stack pieces to drill multiples quickly. Tuck the cylinders into the snow or grass on either side of the path and then add candles. The more the merrier!
Make Your Garland Glow
Old-fashioned canning jars hang out with prelit artificial garlands to add some swag to a plain fence line or deck.
Make handles for the jars (about $10 for 12) with 18-gauge wire (#62933). You can cut a single length to wrap the neck and form the handle. Drop in a votive candle and hang from the hooks used to hold the garland.
Give landscapes a touch of rustic style with these simple glass-and-metal lanterns (around $36 for 5). Just attach storm collars (#26361) to jelly jar glass globes. For a secure fit, seal the collars to the glass with clear caulk (#17417). Randomly scatter your creations across a snowy yard or line them up neatly along a railing or walkway.
Shoot for the Stars
Lend a helping hand to the night sky by adding twinkle to the winter landscape. Make a set of screen stars (about $25 for eight) out of canning jars by wrapping each in a square of aluminum screen (#15097). Cut the screen to size and then cinch it in place with galvanized steel wire (#62933). These portable night-lights create enchantment just where you need it: along stairs, railings, and walkways -- even under a bare tree dressed up with clear string lights (#388733).
Bonus: Lighted Dowel Star
Bright orange by day, brightly lit by night -- this dramatic star goes together quickly for about $11 plus lights of your choice.