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Contact History came into being after professional photographer Layne Kennedy ( sent a holiday greeting to his picture editor at Smithsonian Magazine. Layne grew up in Alaska (where his father was a rescue pilot) and learned to make ice lanterns using weather balloons, etc. as molds; he now lives in Minnesota. His Smithsonian picture editor posted the greeting on the staff bulletin board, and a few editors began experimenting. Our ice lanterns inspired us to help light the world by making extra holiday contributions to UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations and we decided to spread the word. One of us lives next to a neighborhood where on Christmas Eve, Christmas night and New Years Eve virtually every family, in houses block after block, line the fronts of their yards with luminarias. Driving through that neighborhood with your car lights off is like being in a fairy land. Luminarias originated in Mexico and are especially popular in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are created by putting sand in the bottoms of translucent lunch-size bags and then standing candles in the sand. The magazine editors were talking one day about luminarias when one of them suggested a name for the ice lanterns–glistenarias.*

Image: Glistenarias on a neighborhood sidewalk