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Each Christmas is filled with a bittersweet mix of memories new and old. As our families gather in cozy homes, made warm with love and laughter, we remember those who came before us.

Many families choose to observe special traditions as a way to honor their parents, grandparents, and multiple generations of family.

One way to do this is by lighting a candle in memory of their loved ones.

This Christmas you can do the same by following these simple steps.

First, choose a safe location for a candle of remembrance. This is a space far away from flammable objects like curtains or upholstery. It also needs to be away from flammable liquids. This distance is important in case something – like a pet or a child running by – causes the candle to fall unexpectedly.

Second, choose a candle that will last for a long time. Narrow candles or tapers are meant to give off more light and burn quickly. However, choosing a wider candle will allow the flame to burn for many hours. This will provide a satisfying, multi-day memory for you and your Christmas guests.

Third, choose a flattering photo of the family member or members you wish to remember. This can include old family photos, or formal pictures with family members in uniforms or their Sunday best. If you have a family member who passed this year, honor them with their own photo. By placing them in the same display you can help ensure that they are remembered, and everyone feels their presence in this family gathering.

Finally, once you have selected the above items, invite the family to visit the location in your home and pay tribute to the people who came before, and those who perhaps passed too early. Christmas is a time of hope, love, reverence, and above all, family. Coming together to honor the dead is a service to the living, as it draws our minds to the ties that bind us to each other. Blood is, after all, much thicker than water.

This Christmas, keep a light burning – safely – for the ones you love and remember.

Light a candle for a loved one this Christmas.

Photo by Rahul:

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