White Paper Bags Glowing with Light, a Favorite Thing

Traditional luminaria of the Christmas season have their origins in the culture of Spain. Impressed with the paper lanterns from the Chinese culture, Spanish merchants decided to make their own version when they returned home.

Killarney Shores, our community, has kept this tradition alive during the Christmas season with votive candles seated in 2 inches of sand all enveloped in white paper bags. We space them 3-4 feet apart ringing the curvy streets of Emerald Isle Circle, Leprechaun Court, St. Patrick Lane, and Killarney Drive in the neighborhood.

Recently, the candle-lighting event has become a family tradition too with grandchildren lending a hand in the preparations of bag filling and lighting the votives. Last year it was the Dalton duo, this year the Beaman boys.


Grandboys Curtis and Ian, outfitted as shepherds, placing bags on the curb of the street.

White paper bag glowing from within
White paper bag glowing from within

All done, surveying the view.



A little tipsy – both the boy and a bag!

Lighting dozens of candles is exhausting, we need a snack . . .

BoysLumSnackWhat favorite things do you do this season, maybe like us, repeating year after year.

Join the conversation. Inquiring minds want to know about yours!

Your comments welcome; I will always reply!

Woo-hoo, a chance to play with fire!
Woo-hoo, a chance to play with fire!

To view my entry to the My Gutsy Story Contest, click here. Voting takes place in January 2014.


19 thoughts on “White Paper Bags Glowing with Light, a Favorite Thing

  1. No, it poured down raining on Saturday evening, so we had to postpone the lighting to the next day. We didn’t have 100% participation, but it was lovely nonetheless. Because of the change in date, Patrick and Jenna couldn’t help, very disappointing for all concerned. “Life is all about adapting to Plan B,” I guess. Thanks for stopping by and commenting today.


      1. Yes, the Boy Scouts have been bringing them into the local neighbors since my 24 year old stepson was a wee lad. They bring around a flyer with notice and an envelop a couple weeks before Christmas and then the Saturday before Christmas they come around with a stack of white paper bags, a bag of sand and a bag of tea candles. They charge $10.00 a kit and everyone participates. On Christmas Eve, all are lit up…even people who don’t usually participate themselves will most often allow someone else to line their curb. It is a beautiful, welcoming site in the neighborhoods. Seems to bring everyone together as one collective spirit.


  2. Hi Marian,its Debbie from Pa.,I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas 2013……….I also wanted to ask you if your friend on here that you wrote about a few weeks ago has 3 boys,and their names are Samuel and Isaiah and Henry?…..sons of Valerie Weaver Zercher?and is her birthday on August 18 1973?……if so,she is a relative of mine on my Moms side………I have the Rutt book,last typed up by Clarence Rutt,he lives at Landis Homes,his sister lives there too,Barbara and Mary,and the other relative is A.Richard Weaver and his wife Ruth………..my Greatgrandfather on my Moms side was Phares Rutt of New Holland,Pa……….there is only 1 child left of a total of 8,( 5 to first wife and 3 to the 2nd wife)……the only one left is Phares Rutt Jr.,and he lives in Nakomis,Fl.,I am not sure where that is,but maybe you do since you live in Fl too.Ok,I gotta go for now,thanks for listening,and hope you have a nice Christmas,mine are usually very quiet,we have not had a family Christmas since about 2002,my Grandmother was in the Denver Nursing Home for about 2 years before she died on Feb 28,2005,she was 92 and a half years old,she is buried over at the Monterey Chapel,a very old cemetary,near the Leola area.P.S. I forget if I told you that I changed my name back in July to my maiden name,which was Metzler………..Deborah,from Ephrata,Pa.P.S.if you talk to Valerie,tell her that I found her name on page 49,and mine is on page 1.


  3. Valerie has dedicated her book to her three boys, which match the names you used in your message, and also to her husband Dave. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any other information about her except what is supplied on my blog post featuring my interview with her on her book The Thrill of the Chaste. You do a good job of paying attention to the details of family genealogy, Debbie. Merry Christmas to you and your family.


  4. What a lovely way to carry a beautiful old tradition forward, especially with the grandboys helping out. The end result is stunning!

    Bob and I don’t have any traditions that are enjoyed with our children or our grands at this point, all living so strung out across this fair land. However, the one tradition I do enjoy is our singing in the choir for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 11pm in our church. It was something we began shortly after we married and continue to do now. There is such a warm feeling with candlelight and to think that we are being a part of all those welcoming the Christ Child is somewhat amazing.


  5. There’s a neighborhood in a nearby town that does the luminaria ceremony along with a huge Christmas card in front of each home in the subdivision. It’s so lovely to drive by and see each year.


    1. A huge Christmas card in front of each home—I’d love to see that!

      Yes, luminaria are lovely. Whatever grubbiness appears in everyday life is covered beautifully by the scrim of the stream of lights.


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