Farolitos: DIY Decorating

So I am starting my own game of Christmas  CLUE with you today.

Clue #1:  Today I am posting very difficult instructions (facetiously typed) for farolitos or luminaries to decorate your driveway or front step.

Clue #2:  On Christmas, I will post about the New Mexico state cookie.


Have any guesses as to why I am posting these?   You will have to wait a bit longer to see if you are correct in your assumptions.


Farolitos on Canyon Road, Christmas Eve 2011.

Farolitos are simple to make and remind me so much of a very special Christmas in 2011.

I wanted to keep decorations simple and natural this year and cut all my own greenery this season from our thujas, weeping spruce, rogue cedar trees, and pines.  (And, plenty of juniper boughs from the neighbor’s encroaching yard.)

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Sorry about my giant bow. It drooped more than I anticipated.

I just felt like the front step screamed for something more.   I immediately thought of some Santa Fe decorations:  farolitos.

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All you need is some sand, some brown paper lunch bags, and some battery operated tea lights.

  1. Fill the bottom of each bag with about 1-2 cups of sand.
  2. Place a battery operated tea light in the center and nestle it in place.
  3. Line your front step or driveway with these festive lights.

Of course, original and traditional farolitos use real candles, but due to fear of fires, I advocate the use of battery operated ones.    (If using real votives, please be certain that you use enough sand to make sure the candle flame cannot touch the paper bag—even in a wind storm.)

If lining an entire drive way, you could use a string of electric bulbs, cutting a hole in the bottom of the sack and placing the bulb through the hole.  You would need to secure the lights with duck tape or wire pins.

Farolitos are said to go back to Spanish colonial days in New Mexico and are used in elaborate displays to light the way of the Christ child or spirit of Christmas.    They might have also been used to guide worshipers to Christmas Mass.

(For a quick and easy tutorial and how to, click here.)

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Please stay tuned for more clues…


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