During the holiday season of 2016, Saturday Night Live featured a song-filled video titled “The Christmas Candle”. The premise: an out-of-season peach candle is “re-gifted ’round the world in just one day.” It was smart and funny, and most importantly, it featured styling that channeled a holiday catalogue from the early ’90s.
Folks, 2017 has been a heavy year. Need proof? Open a newspaper any day of the week. Not to mention, the holidays can be a heavy time, or at the very least, stressful. At what other time of the year are you expected to give everyone you know a gift AND attend their parties and gatherings?!
One antidote to the stress: laughter. And of course, re-gifting. Today’s candle swap concept, inspired by the above-mentioned Saturday Night Live skit, is a great way to take a break from the bustle and revel in the “so bad it’s good” beauty of the late ’80s/early ’90s candle. And of course, to celebrate the art of effortless re-gifting! Celebrate white elephant-style by letting guests “steal” the candle of their choice from other guests. You can cap it off with rules such as “no candle can be stolen more than 3 times”.
Plan this party before the holidays are in full swing so there’s time for you and your guests to truly have fun with it. And if you’re hosting, be nice to your guests and have a few extra candles on hand so nobody is tempted to skip the event because they didn’t have time to hit the thrift store during the busiest time of the year. Now that the logistics are out of the way, it’s time to have fun! Start by watching the SNL Christmas Candle video below (featuring Emma Stone).
The Saturday Night Live “Christmas Candle”
How’s that for some retro holiday party inspiration?! Now on to the planning…
Candle Swap Details
To get the party going, you’ll need to set the stage with a few candles that create a retro feel. Channel the SNL video by making them look like more of an afterthought than a well-planned holiday statement. Head to a thrift store such as Goodwill to find your candles.
I tried places like TJ Maxx, but honestly, candles today aren’t what they used to be. They’re often sold in glass containers (sometimes shiny mercury glass), and some try a little bit too hard to be modern with strange gradients featuring colors like country blue and brown. Go to the source and stock up on candles that are either from the ’80s/’90s or simply appear to be!
I found all three candles below at one Goodwill. So easy, so fabulously outdated! The seashell candle is perfectly out of season and a bit too much. Mission accomplished! The white candle with pastel markings was a kind of sparse. Don’t be afraid to embellish your candle with a charm or other bauble. The rose in the photo is an old pendant I found in my jewelry box. I haven’t worn it in years (maybe decades?)…
And that green candle! A cone-shaped candle is almost too good to be true. By the way, the quotes you see scattered in today’s vignettes are of course from the Christmas Candle song and video. I printed them out on white paper, then backed them with art paper and dressed them up with a simple brush stroke created with craft paint. So easy to get a retro look!
You may also want to have over-the-top holiday decor on hand, such as glittering pastel foliage. The minty blue poinsettia below says it all!
You can also let the candles themselves inspire the decor for your candle swap. While seashells aren’t typical Christmas decorations, they provide just the “right” statement for this gathering. Especially if you toss in a couple of glass ball ornaments!
Here’s another shot of the three candles, set against a backdrop created with this Thai Terrazzo Paper. Not bad for $3! And speaking of affordable, the candles were all purchased for either 99 cents or $1.99 each.
Don’t forget the snacks! Make it easy. In the ’80s and ’90s people didn’t comb Pinterest for foodie cakes in the shape of Christmas trees or donuts that look like ornaments. Store-bought cookies will do, especially if they have icing or chocolate drizzled over them. The edibles below are from Trader Joe’s:
Let the re-gifting fill your heart with a warm glow. Most importantly, you’ll leave the party with “the candle we all get then give away”. So if your coworker surprises you with a last-minute gift, all you’ll have to do is reach in your purse for “some garbage that will do.” Hey, I didn’t say it! Shall we watch the video again?!
Happy Holidays to you and yours! XOXO, Kate