Kingfeatures Syndicate
Ice candleholders, made by freezing water in balloons, sparkle in the snow on an outdoor railing.

Candles glow this month on our advent wreath, on my husband's birthday cake and on our front porch to welcome guests throughout the holiday season. Different occasions, different meanings, but the candles are universal. There's something about that small circle of light that has drawn people together since the beginning of time. So no matter what you're celebrating this holiday season, light a candle and let its gentle flicker draw you closer to the people and community you love.

Floating votives

Fill a tall, clear vase one-third full with fresh cranberries. Add water and a candle floating on top near the rim.

Candles in a jar

Pour 1 cup of sand into a clear, glass canning or jam jar and nestle a votive candle in the sand. Make several for an eye-catching display.

Outdoor ice candles

Fill a balloon with water until it is the size of a softball. Blow once into the balloon and tie a knot. Place in a plastic bowl or deli container and set in the freezer for about 6 hours. Once a thick shell of ice has formed inside the balloon but you still hear some water sloshing inside the shell, pop the balloon and discard of it properly. Pour the excess water out to leave a cavity in the middle where a votive candle will later be placed. Re-freeze.

At sunset, remove from freezer, place a votive candle in the cavity and light it outside. It will sparkle like crystal!

If you make the ice candles in an area where the temperature is above freezing the next day, store it in your freezer.

Indoor use: Fill a decorative bowl with snow or chipped ice. Set the ice candle in the middle of the ice, and light for a centerpiece on a buffet table.

Safety note: An adult should always be present when burning candles.

For more of my holiday ideas, contact your PBS station and ask for this year's "DONNA'S DAY" holiday special called "Winter Lights." Visit and sign up for my e-newsletter. © Donna Erickson. Dist. by King Features Syndicate.