Christmastide: A Candle in the Window


by Mary Jo

I’ve always loved the look of Christmas candles in windows.  To me, they seem very welcoming, especially at cold times of the year.  I actually have a pair of Christmas novellas that I published together in a two book collection called Christmas Candles, and welcoming candles are part of both stories.


I did some research on how old the tradition is and this site  has some interesting stories.  I liked that in southern Pennsylvania, candles in the windows were a sign of safety on the Underground Railway.

My house has three panel windows on both the first and second floors, and for as long as I’ve lived here (30 years!) I’ve put electric candles in each panel. For most of that time, I’ve used candles that had cords and needed to be plugged into a timer.  The cords were a mess and a lot of blue tape was required to hold the candles in place in each window.

This year in a burst of inspiration, I decided to see what other choices there were, and lo!  I found battery operated candles with timers that can be set for different lengths of time. Perfect!  The candles make me smile whenever I look at them, and there is no longer a clutter of cords to annoy the cats when they want to sleep in the windows. <G> So now my house is quietly saying “Welcome!”

9 thoughts on “Christmastide: A Candle in the Window”

  1. I don’t have many Christmas customs. A few decorations, a few gifts, dinner with the folks. But one thing I always do is put a candle in the front window on Christmas Eve, to be left burning until dawn. It’s part of an old custom called Las Posadas that I learned back in my school days. The candle is to tell Joseph and Mary that if they are wanting shelter, they can find it here. Nowadays I use an electric candle so as not to affright my neighbors, but the intent is the same.

    • Janice, when I looked up the history of candles in windows one of the common reasons was as a welcome to the Holy Family, but I didn’t see it called Las Posadas so naturally I had to look it up!

      I see that a Posada was a lodging place so it was an offer of shelter in the Spanish language tradition. It’s a lovely custom in any language.

  2. To Janice J, I love the idea of the candle to light the way for that young couple looking for shelter. That is the loveliest gift I have received in a very long time. Thank you. And may 2024 be the year we all find the way to safety and shelter and a warm and welcoming place to stay.

  3. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo! As I write this, I can look up and see oil lamps and real candles burning as well as twinkle lights (LED) shining in a Murano vase. We have no fireplace (to my husband’s dismay), so these all brighten our home.
    Wishing a bright, healthy, and peaceful new year to all.

    • Kareni, in the depths of winter, all celebratory lights are good! You and your husband might looking into one of versions of electrical fireplaces. Not quite like the real thing, but a lot easier!

  4. When we lived in Pennsylvania candles in the windows were a year round thing. People building new homes even had the wiring put in as a permanent thing. Wisconsin & California don’t seem to do it at all. Mary Jo – yours sound so pretty & welcoming!

    • How interesting, Jeanne! I hadn’t known that about the candles in windows in Pennsylvania, but here you are with instant confirmation. Love that there can be permanent wiring for them.


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