Lighting up Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time to bring in extra lights and lots of them. Sharon Dale reports.

Ceramic tealight holder, £24,

Good lighting makes a world of difference to an interior and the same can be said for Christmas.

What is Christmas without an abundance of fairy lights, candles, tealights and lanterns? It’s grey and cold outside and many of us are starting to feel winter weariness so plenty of sparkle indoors is a welcome and uplifting sight.

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My favourite bit of flickering escapism comes in the form of the tealight houses, made from pottery or from wood. Pop a tealight inside and the windows light up as though there is someone home. It creates a magical little scene.

Festoon vintage lights, £15.95,

Some of the best examples are designed in Germany and are found at the Christmas markets running in Leeds, Harrogate, Sheffield and York. If you have opted for Scandi theme this year, the white ceramic house, pictured above, from The Contemporary Home would tie in nicely.

Paper lanterns painted with festive scenes have the same effect. I love Yorkshire artist Kate Lycett’s “Fairy Lights” design,

When it comes to fairy lights there is an array of choice along with some snobbery. Coloured lights are generally considered “non-U” i.e. not upper class by those who give a damn. Most of us don’t and we know coloured versions do a fabulous job of brightening up a Christmas tree. The Glow Company, has a good selection online, including some nostalgic Vintage Festoon lights for £15.95

For those who want to emulate Downton Abbey, Glow also has some battery-operated Baroque Pearl String lights for £18.95, which will add a touch of glamour.

Candle from Neom Organics

The Sue Ryder shop has some gorgeous Christmas lighting this year and, if you buy from them, the profit all goes to the charity. It has a white LED star for £8.99 that would look perfect on a mantelpiece or shelf.

Scented candles are a must and it pays to buy the best quality. These are usually made from soy wax or beeswax and contain natural fragrances, which won’t harm your health. They will also burn for longer. Cheap candles are often made from paraffin wax, a by-product of the petroleum industry, and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are bad for our health and can irritate conditions such as asthma.

Fortunately, Yorkshire has some fantastic candle makers, including Neom, the Harrogate Candle Company and Dovecote. They all use natural ingredients and all of them have festive scented candles.

Don’t forget safety when you buy Christmas lights. Always buy from a reputable trader and when it comes to candles keep an eye on tealights and candles within paper lanterns. To be extra safe, use electric candles and tealights.

Lights from a selection at Dunelm

* Don’t forget outdoors. A garden, yard or front door festooned with Christmas lights is lovely to come home to after a hard day at work. It’s also a treat for neighbours and passers-by. You don’t have to light up like Blackpool illuminations, simply string some lights in a tree or along the hedge, pop some LEDs on the door wreath or line your path with storm lanterns containing battery-operated candles. For inspiration visit garden centres, many of which excel at outdoor lighting.

Festoon vintage lights, £15.95,
Candle from Neom Organics
Lights from a selection at Dunelm