Candle holders in Bethlehem would have been made out of the raw and crude materials that were available during the time in history when the baby Jesus was born. This event took place in a setting where the people were poor, so candles would have been held by things readily available in nature or by something old and discarded. Get creative with nature's bounty for displaying your candle holders in Bethlehem.
Raw Gem Stone and Rock Holder
A rustic candle holder made from small stones and uncut gems would fit into the time period you are going for here. Decorate a plain ceramic plate with rocks or uncut gemstones. These are simple to put together by using a glue gun and covering the upper side of the plate with the stones or gems. Just leave a circle uncovered in the center of plate big enough for a pillar candle to sit in. These crude stones will provide the look of the rustic materials that may have been available in ancient Bethlehem.
Old Metal Candle Sticks
The traditional metal candlesticks would have been available during this time period, but they would have been crude and worn. The ones made today can be used for a Bethlehem scene, but rough them up with a little bit of black and white paint to make them look old and weathered. Use a sponge and dab a little bit of enamel black paint and rub the paint on the candlestick in a few areas to look like smudges. Do the same with white enamel paint. The older and more worn they look, the better for a scene in a manager.
Flame-less Candle Holders
Hay was plentiful in mangers in Bethlehem, as were vines. Use a wicker basket as a container and hot glue, hay and any type of grape or ivy vine on the basket. Use a flame-less pillar candle to put inside the basket, which is made of the raw elements that were available in that day. Placing these candle holders around the manger will provide a realistic look to the scene.
The shells of hard fruits and vegetables were utilized as containers during this time in history, nothing was thrown away. Hollow out gourds, miniature pumpkins and even apples to place tea lights in as candle holders. This will give a raw look to the scene you are depicting from the days of old. These items from nature's bounty have been around for centuries and they make a great poor man's candle holder.
Wooden Log Candle Holder
Wood is another raw material that could be used for candle holders during this time period. Cut a log in small pieces about six inches long and flip it so it stands straight up. Then drill a hole on the top big enough to hold a single pillar candle. Leave the bark on to keep the rustic look. These can be be placed on a pole or stick by drilling another hole in the bottom that is big enough for the pole to fit into. These will look like the candle torches that were carried by townspeople during this time in history, and they are easily pushed into the ground to stand on their own and offer light into the manger.