My Grandmother and her sister remember doing this around their Christmas tree as childdren. Their parents brought the tradition from Norway. Singing Christmas hymns was the activity. The candles were real.
Grannie Annie always puts her tree up in the middle of the room, so everyone can dance around it. Just like you described Aunt Tea.
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.