The lantern, in its simplest form, is meant to shine a light forward. With roots that can be traced back to 1500 B.C., lanterns have been lighting our lives for thousands of years and have even shaped key moments in American history. The phrase “One if by land, two if by sea” would not have endured for so long were it not for Paul Revere’s ingenuity of having lanterns placed in Boston’s Old North Church to warn of the British army’s arrival before the start of the Revolutionary War.
With such a rich past, it’s no wonder that seven years ago the team at Harry & David was inspired to bring the tradition of lantern light to the home for the holidays.
What began as the quintessential metal lantern with a top handle for portability evolved into a handle-less, mixed-material centerpiece three years ago. The goal? Offer customers a holiday-themed lantern gift that is both elegant to display and easy to pack and ship.
After going through three separate design iterations, the 2021 Holiday Lantern design is a nod to tradition. It features a cozy winter landscape artfully rendered on galvanized tin and mounted on all four sides of an open-top wooden box, which holds an LED candle.
The design on the tin has changed over the years. In 2020, it was tree ornaments, and way back in 2015, the lantern had more of a traditional look and feel: painted red, with a handle, and open on all sides to showcase a candle.
This rustic centerpiece is not just charming; it’s also rugged. The current design has been tested for durability through two different tests: A drop test, during which the lantern is dropped on all sides from 40 inches above ground, and the shake test, which mimics how the lantern may be jostled along its delivery journey from Southern Oregon to your lucky gift recipient’s doorstep.
The lantern can obviously be used as a carrier of light, but its functionality doesn’t end there: It’s also filled with a scrumptious selection of savory and salty cocktail snacks. These include local Oregon cheeses, such as Rogue Creamery Touvelle and Oregon Blue, Creminelli finocchio salami, rosemary Parmesan crackers, and Royal Riviera cranberry pear chutney. Bottles of award-winning Harry & David 2018 Pinot Noir and Harry & David 2019 Chardonnay surround the holiday lantern showpiece.
Riza Johnson, director of product development at Harry & David, is already working with her team on the lantern for 2022 and she knows you’ll love what they have in store. “What we do is very sweet.”