Candles are a part of many Holiday decorations. The problem is, so are accidental fires. Candles unintentionally tipped or left burning can turn a celebration into a mess very quickly. We have advocated the use of LED lights (Candela, SmartCandle, etc...) for many years and thought it worthwhile to do so again, particularly at this very special time of the year.
LED candles have come a long way. Many now have a flickering option which is a very good simulation of a real flame. Some have real and even scented wax on the outside to make it even more "candle-like." Many companies sell LED-based lights, but we have found SmartCandle and OXO products to be BOB (Best-Of-Breed) in this category. Both companies have LED offerings in a variety of sizes, styles, and power options.
For readers who lean toward traditional shapes (tea lights, pillars, etc.), Smart Candle's line would be more to their liking. One of their most versatile items is the rechargeable tea light. Ours have worked flawlessly since we first reviewed them in 2006. After three years, each charge still lasts over 15 hours. Needless to say, we have recouped the cost several times over.
One of the earliest simulated candles we got was a pillar-shaped light from Brookstone. It required four AA batteries and did not give off much light. It does have a nice glow and good flicker effect. However, the newer ones from SmartCandle are clearly superior in both realism with the "flame" on or off. For those looking for one of these, the SmartCandle would be our recommendation.
When we were kids, we had an artificial tree which we set up year after year. It is one of the many holiday memories that we really cherish, so last year we decided to get one for the office. The "tree," with its clear bubbling trunk and spiraling greenery, became quite the conversation piece.
The reasons for an artificial tree are many (less hassle, no shedding, etc.), but a big one is safety. While they do not have the nice pine scent, they are considerably less of a fire hazard. In addition, ours sets up quick and requires almost no maintenance. We did have a little problem with the bubbler when we put up the tree this year, but have since worked it out. Hopefully we'll be setting up this Bubble Tree for many years to come.
The wonderful thing about LED lights are not just that they are safer and more economical, they also look great. Above are some examples of LED lighting as they appear at night. The brighter lights (screen, vase) are the OXO DemiGlows. The ones in the glass votives are the SmartCandle lights. We use rechargeable Eneloop AAs for the ones which don't have built-in rechargeable batteries. So if you like the look of a flickering light at a window, but don't want the worries of fire from a burning candle...go with a Smart Candle. Happy Holidays!!! [Permalink] -Holiday Catalog: Lights