The Meaning Behind Putting Christmas Candles In The Window

The classic holiday decoration goes back centuries.

Christmas Candle in Window

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An easy way to add a little bit of magic to your Christmas décor is by putting candles in the windows. Not only do candles make your home feel cozy and festive from the inside, but they offer a glowing display from the outside. While the modern-day use of candles typically calls for flameless battery-operated styles that reduce risk and cost, traditional candles were first used in windows during Christmas centuries ago. 

The origin of Christmas window candles dates back to colonial times and has been interpreted in different ways. In that period, the appearance of a lit candle in the window often signified that a building or home was open and welcoming to those passing through, or that there would be shelter and food available. Some reports trace this back to Irish Catholics during the Penal Laws; families would display a candle to let priests know that there was a safe haven. In Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg—one of our favorite holiday destinations—still authentically honors the practice of displaying candles as a welcoming sign in the windows of its historic buildings each year. 

The recognition of loved ones was another reason that many once lit traditional candles in their windows during the holiday season, particularly for religious celebrators. A candle in the window could represent a silent prayer for the return of an absent family member, or to simply acknowledge that the absent person was dearly missed. Additionally, it can be in honor of a family member who has passed. 

Nowadays, the meaning behind Christmas candles in the window can often simply be about creating a glowing Christmas scene for everyone to enjoy. The use of candles in lieu of colorful LED lights can feel especially classic and nostalgic, and there’s plenty of options out there to coordinate a beautiful display. For those looking to incorporate the idea into their own decorations, we’ve got the best recommendations for flameless window candles

While the history of window candles might go back to before Christmas became the decorative extravaganza that it is today, the sentiment can still remain the same. 

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