Friday, January 07, 2011

Holiday Decor in the Lehigh Valley

There are varying levels of taste, and commitment, to holiday decorating in the Lehigh Valley. Some people go all out, with blinking lights, inflatable snowmen and multiple displays. Others keep it simple with a few bushes netted with white lights and a wreath.

Most houses and businesses in my neighborhood are at least decorated with a simple white candle in each window facing the street, and sometimes a Moravian Star.

Our front porch light is a lit Moravian star that looks a little like this.

Do not confuse the Moravian Star with the Star of Bethlehem, which looks more like this - long and pointy:

Nearly everyone has those little white candles in their windows, but most don't know the origin of the tradition. I did a little research, and discovered that the 26-point Moravian Star originated in the Moravian school handcraft sessions in Niesky, Germany around 1850, and is usually seen hanging and lighted at night. The Moravian Church in North America calls this tradition Illumination. It refers to the German custom of putting a lighted candle in each window after dark, and is also common in the Moravian settlements of Salem and Lititz, too.

Our candles are battery-operated, and each has a light sensor, so I don't need to remember to turn them on every night and off in the morning. Once I seal them inside the double-pane window well on Black Friday, I kind of forget about them until after the new year. The informal rule for taking down holiday decorations is 12 days after Christmas (NBC's Today Show viewers concur). That would be, uh... yesterday. But our candles are still up. So the question is - is this candle tradition a holiday decoration, or is it acceptable to leave them up all year round?


  1. I love to drive by a home and see the simple white candles in the window. It's so classic and elegant... keep them up all year! We do! Since I was a kid, part of our holiday tradition is driving around and looking at christmas lights. I think the tackier the better but I don't want to see them all year round either.. Inflatable Homer Simpson and the lights you can see from space definately need to go away after new years:)

    Jen @

  2. Anonymous1/10/2011

    I'm all for illuminating your house with candles through the cold, dark winter months. I live in downtown Bethlehem, so maybe that's why I think I can get away with it, though. I take down the other Christmas decor before MLK weekend (and that's too long, I know!), but leave the candles up through March.

  3. I like the idea of leaving them up through March... maybe until the start of Daylight Savings? This year it's March 13 - and I'm counting the days!