How long have these things been available, and why has no one informed me?* As far as I’m concerned, this is the most significant advance in holiday technology since Avon came out with those fiber-optic snowpeople in the 1990s.
I have a lovely tealight holder that works very nicely on the bookcase at the top of the stairs, but the wax tealights it requires last only two hours. It gets dark around 4:30 in the afternoon here, so keeping a real tealight going until bedtime would mean three tealights a night, 90 per month, 300 or so until spring is in the air. I don’t have the storage space for that many!
In contrast, the battery-powered tealight is on its 15th hour as I write this; the package promises “up to 40 hours.” That’s more than a week’s worth of faux flame.
Even better, the flame stays cool even as it flickers. This means I will be able to use another one to light the tiny glass house in the train village without worrying that its little roof will crack from the heat.
I can put one inside the glass church I found at a resale shop.
I can tuck one inside the stable of our Nativity scene without setting off the manger’s teeny tiny smoke detector.**
And best of all, when I ran the numbers, I found that the battery-operated version costs half a penny less per hour than what I have taken to calling the wicked variety. [Based on Saturday’s price for one 6-pack of battery-operated tealights vs a 50-pack of paraffin ones with wicks. Your mileage may vary depending on local prices.]
I’m all for the genuine article, and I have a big bag of four- and six-hour beeswax votives from a church supply store that I use for stained-glass votive holders. But for the dark at the top of the stairs, I really like the flickering from the candle glass on the landing. As the saying goes: It is better to switch on one tealight than to curse the darkness after only 2 hours.
*I know that battery-operated pillar candles have been around for a while, especially in restaurants, but I haven’t run across the tealight size before. If I’m the last person on the planet to have discovered them…well, I never claimed to be an Early Adopter.
**Kidding about the smoke detector in the manger…
© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go