Bring a little light to the tail end of winter

Nobody can say for sure when the winter will end, but we can guarantee that there will still be snow on the ground in Muskoka this March Break.

So if you’re up at the cottage with the kids, this could be your last chance to get out and play in it.

If your family spends a lot of time playing outdoors in the winter, by this time in the season the novelty of making snowmen has worn off, and even tobogganing may be getting a little tired. Which means it’s time to pull out something new from your bag of tricks: it’s time to make snölykta.

Swedish snow lanterns have been around for centuries. They’re simple, fun, and look gorgeous. But for some reason, they’ve never really caught on outside Sweden.

That’s a shame, because this lovely art form combines all the beauty and creativity of making a snowman, with the added delight of fire. They look interesting by day, but it’s at night that they really show their true delights.

And, just like snowmen, snow lanterns don’t discriminate by age or by artistic ability. Sure, the Instagram stars of the snow lantern world may be able to make theirs from dozens of perfectly-shaped, same-sized snowballs, But yours will look just fine – and be just as much fun – if the snowballs are misshapen and odd-sized.

The technique is incredibly simple. Just start making snowballs and arrange them in a circle. Then add more rows of snowballs in slightly smaller circles each time. Eventually you’ll have a cone of snowballs.

Sometime before you close in the cone, put your light inside. It can be a few tea lights or – if you’ve made a large snow lantern, as in this video – a couple of sterno cans that will throw more light. You can even put an electric light inside, although then you’ll lose the magic of the flickering light that flames throw.

Once the lantern is complete, use a long-stemmed barbecue lighter to light the candles. Or else light the candles before you put the last few snowballs in place – it’s entirely up to you.

Snow lanterns look their best after dark, so the best time to make one is just before sunset. The sun is going down around 6:00 in Muskoka these days.

Build your snow lantern somewhere you’ll be able to see it from indoors, light it, and then head inside for a warming mug of Swedish glogg. (You can find our favourite glogg recipe here.) Skol!

Posted in Connecting with Nature.