When we moved into our neighborhood 7 years ago, we knew it was a great spot, and then Christmas Eve came and we were totally sold. A few days earlier, we had gotten a garbage sack of sand, bags and candles on our doorstep as a “neighbor gift” from a few families. I almost threw it away, thinking my kids had started another strange collection. Then I read the note and instructions and was a bit curious about a luminary tradition but a little skeptical. That night, before we headed to a family Christmas Eve, we set out our bags as instructed and asked the neighbors to light the candles at the right time since we would be gone.
As we drove into our community after an evening away, I had to catch my breathe. It was so beautiful! Over 100 houses and all the sidewalks were lit with the paper luminaries, making our homecoming on Christmas Eve quiet and magical. We drove around the whole neighborhood, listening to soft Christmas music and just taking it all in. My eyes brimmed with tears of gratitude for my little family and the great community we are a part of. It is now one of my favorite favorite Christmas traditions.
I can’t wait for that same moment this year!
My neighbors were kind enough to give me all the instructions if you want to start this tradition in your own neck of the woods!
Our neighborhood uses the following numbers, for 97 homes, but it all depends on how big your lots are, etc. This is just to give you a good estimate.
We need 1170 bags: 10 for 77 non-corner homes and 20 for for the 20 corner homes.
We get the white bags #8 size from Carpenter Paper and the candles are 10 hour votive candles from quickcandle.com. the sand is from Staker Parson on Beck Street. We buy 1/4 of a cubic yard.
For those who are not in Utah or have sketchy weather, here are some other options from Amazon:
White Paper Bags Heavy Duty ($23 for 125 bags)
10 Hour Votive Candles ($35 for 144 candles)
Electric Tea Lights ($27 for 100 if you prefer to not have a flame or if you are in a wet climate)
Sand or gravel is best purchased locally….anything to keep the bag from flying away works.
Thank you for sharing! We’ll be doing this for the first time in our neigborhood this year.
You will LOVE it!! It will fill your heart with love and light on Christmas Eve.
So do the same families give them out each year as their neighbor gift and split the cost? I’m assuming they toss bag and sand after they are done? And last by chance were you at a cookie exchange at Brooke Eardley’s home? If not you have a twin ?
Yes, that is exactly how they do it. It is my favorite! and Yes, I was at Brooke’s the other day :). such a fun party and so nice to meet you there!
We tried this last year and the battery operated tea lights we used we not nearly as bright. Did you find your lights to be bright enough?
Bummer. Yes! Ours are always bright enough.
Sounds like a beautiful luminary event!
I just want to give you something to consider… our company is FLIC luminaries, and we manufacture a well-built plastic luminary with a 10-yr warranty. We have a special division that only works with neighborhoods like yours to help keep them going in luminaries. It gives your neighborhood the opportunity to keep your luminaries going all through the holiday season without a worry about bad weather. And once they are bought, you are done buying luminaries. I hope you will check us out and I’m happy to talk to you at any time during the year to help you.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
I need acPDF of your whole post! Beautiful tradition.
thank you so much!!
This is a tradition in much of California, which I first experienced in 1972. Still one of my favorite parts of the Holidays!
So fun! I love it!