For a child who grumbled at the idea of an 18th century Christmas, I spent much of my childhood bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t been born a century or two earlier. Malcontent? Not really. Just a romantic. I wanted my world lit up by candles so badly that I once nearly burned the house down by covering my bedroom lamp with a blanket to make it look like I was reading by lamplight. Oh, the romance of burning whale oil.
My parents eventually figured that the family would be safer if they entrusted with me with an actual candle, and I received one Christmas a brass-handled candle holder of the variety I imagine was carried by Wee Willie Winkie. Except instead of running upstairs and downstairs and all throughout the town, I mostly carried my prized candle holder back and forth from bedroom to bathroom on nightly tooth brushing adventures.
It’s no surprise then, that I have a particular soft spot for the clip on candle-holders that commonly bedecked Christmas trees until electric string lights began to be widely marketed in the 1920s (more on the history of electric Christmas lights, here). The fact that adding fire to cut evergreens might be considered hazardous, bordering on lunatic, is not lost on me. But for the very brave and vigilant among us, it’s still kind of lovely to create such beautiful wintry displays of light and greenery. Here, a few of my favorite examples from around the Internet and a source or two for the clips themselves. Just in case.
Above: Justine’s larch and berry advent wreath.
Above: An advent wreath nestled in a galvanized tin bowl. Photograph by Marion Beijnink, BasicHus.
Above: Four candles on a hanging advent candelabra. Photography by An-Magritt Moen.
So where do you find them? Justine found new Silver and Gold Candle Clips at Ingebretsen; $9.50 for a pack of ten.
If you prefer a true vintage specimen, Etsy has a robust supply of vintage clips in a range of designs and price points. Above: A set of Vintage Tin Candle Holder Clips is $25 for 15 from Lazy Day Relics.
For a patinaed variation, a set of ten Antique Christmas Tree Candle Holders is $16 from Meanglean on Etsy.
And now the question: would you dare?
For worry-free wintry lighting see: DIY: A Starry Night Holiday Light Display.