In a year that’s seemed filled with doom and gloom, virtually from start to finish, rays of light have pierced the fog at last, just as the year draws to a close.
Determined that Christmas will bring it’s annual dose of comfort and joy, despite restrictions, trees, hedges, windows and doors have begun being lit with twinkling lights, lifting hearts and spirits and just, well, making the world we pass through on our daily walks that bit more special.
But just what is it about the glow of a lantern or glinting strings of fairy lights that raises a smile?
First, a deep-dive into history to learn how lights became a central feature of our winter festivities.
The use of light to bring happiness in the cold depths of winter is as old as the invention of manmade fire itself, with bonfires built to throw light around the otherwise pitch-black void, as well as keep the tribe warm and provide hot meals. And surely, something of this life-sustaining quality is inherently ingrained in our collective subconscious, meaning that even in our modern world, filled with light at the flick of a switch, we still feel something of the relief and relaxation that we are safe and warm when we are surrounded by light.
We tend to think of most Christmas traditions as revered ancient customs, but very many of them actually seem to have originated in the 19th century with those ever-inventive Victorians. The father of the lightbulb himself, Thomas Edison, had a great pal and business partner in the shape of one Edward Johnson, who took Mr. Edison’s invention and decided they’d be perfect for dressing Christmas trees (replacing the existing custom of placing candles on boughs, which you either had to blow out just minutes after lighting or risk creating flames of a much bigger and more dangerous variety!).
It has been said that Christmas candles themselves (both on the tree and around the house) were lit to represent the light of Jesus Christ, though I suspect the tradition goes far further back than that and was more likely representative of the light of the sun returning to the world following the winter solstice. Either way, lighting has the power to immediately change the mood of a home, most especially through the long, inky-dark nights of winter.
Whilst a central ceiling light throws out plentiful bright light to make working on the most intricate projects possible as the sun disappears below the curvature, once work is done and it’s time to settle into peaceful evening’s enjoyment, the glare of the ceiling light may not do much to enhance the atmosphere. This is when softer, subtler light sources come into their own.
Lanterns, in particular, have an undeniable charm, whether they be vintage style lanterns that cast gentle gloaming pools across surfaces or styled with modern, metallic cutwork, throwing patterns of light over walls, they bring with them a special kind of pleasurably cosiness. What’s more they’re superbly portable, so you can play with various locations and settings to create just the right scene.
Need to retrieve something from the bottom of the garden after nightfall? Why settle from a standard torch when you can practise your very best Florence Nightingale, holding aloft a vintage-inspired lantern to light your way?
With a range of designs available you can easily and instantly change the look and feel of any room or garden setting. Cottagecore enthusiasts can complete their aesthetic with traditional stable lanterns placed on window sills or outside hung on trees and pillar candles placed on graceful glass candlesticks. Maybe you’re a travel-fan and have missed discovering the sights of far-flung lands recently? Set your firebowl ablaze and place the generously proportioned, solar-powered Tika Lantern by Vincent Sheppard outdoors and have your very own Hanatoro.
Group different sizes and styles of lantern together for an altogether more eclectic look or make festive feasts a really special experience with a little roof of light from super feelgood enhancer, Light My Table by Vincent Sheppard.
Whatever the style you choose for your way of living, remember….good lighting makes you and your home look gorgeous and feel even better. Get creative with your lightscene and get cosy this winter.