Do You Have a Thrifty Tradition?

Do You Have a Thrifty Tradition? Thrifty traditions are free, or near free, but greatly enrich and entertain us. Here’s one from our family.

When our children were small used a wine bottle for a candle holder. Every night we lit the candle for supper. We always used candle stubs on the tall bottle, or cut full-length candles in half. We intentionally chose candles of various colors for maximum artistic effect. I would get candle stubs from yard sales, often in free boxes. Sometimes they were amusing ones bent from storage in a warm place.

Over time the wine bottle became a big hideous wax blob in the center of my dining table, so I was not at all unhappy when the bottle fell and broke. We didn’t have a candle bottle for many years. But then a year ago, my older children were nostalgic, and so we restarted the tradition and again I have a wax blob on my dining table.

When first-time guests come, I of course feel compelled explain the hideous wax blob, and it’s significance to family tradition. Guests who are most lucky happen to have dinner during an evening when we have a “Dropping of the Flame” ceremony. This occurs when the candle burns below the neck of the bottle, down to the last quarter inch. At this point, the candle might put itself out in it’s own melted wax pool, resulting in an anti-climatic wisp of smoke. Or if we’re blessed, the flame will actually drop inside the bottle, rest on the bottom and burn for a few seconds, visible through the colored glass. In anticipation of this ceremony, we scurry to shut off the lights, and we all watch in total silence until something happens. The ceremony always ends with collective groans or aahhhs, depending on what happens. I’m always amused at how the guests become engaged in the outcome.