If ever there was a time of the year when people love having candles around it's Christmas. There are plenty to choose from. You'd be hard pressed not to find a company, big or small, luxury or budget, that isn't peddling a Christmas offering. You can rely on the big names to produce something fantastic. You know the ones I mean. The Diptyques, the Jo Malones, the Neoms of this world. Last year my Christmas candle was the Elemis Spa Light. It's a spicy cinnamon scent mixed in with a few soft spa-like notes to make it less cakey. They release the same one each year but in a different jar. While it smells gorgeous, be warned, it's insanely powerful. That's not a bad thing, but it's one that filled the entire of my downstairs, so you may have to blow it out pretty quickly if you're only trying to spread the scent around a small space.
I've had a bad run with inexpensive candles lately. I freely admit that I sometimes get carried away in the abundant HomeSense candle section, buying up some that smell great in the shop but don't necessarily deliver when you burn them. They end up being a false economy, but I just don't want to spend a fortune on wax all of the time, and I say that as someone who burns candles all year round. It gets expensive. I can't even link the few that were good or buy them again because they're so random they only seem to be available in HomeSense on a lottery basis, unless you manage to grab one of the properly branded ones. What a sweet day it was when they had Miller Harris stock at a massively discounted price. I've also had a bad time with H&M and Tesco candles, though I really liked the H&M Secret Love (now discontinued) and Tesco's Myrrh & Amber Room Spray. It's out of stock online but may be available in-store. The candle of the same name is useless. Don't bother!
One of the frustrating things about Christmas candles is that they're available for such a short period of time they can be gone before the winter's done, never to be seen again. Yes, I realise that's the point, but I prefer to match to the weather rather than the 'season to be jolly'. Here are three reliable favourites that you can burn pretty much all year round and they'd still smell great, but they're especially good during this time of year.
Blink Brow Bar Mysore Sandalwood Candle
I don't say this lightly, but this may be my most favourite candle of all time. If you love woody scents and especially sandalwood, I can't stress enough how incredible this candle is. You can smell it before you even open the box, it's a slow burner so it lasts ages and it burns cleanly. There's no waste. I haven't burnt it in about a year and my last one is still giving off a mild scent when the radiator it sits on is up high. Its only downside is that it's not always easy to get hold of because it belongs to a brow brand, but it's worth seeking out. You might remember in my Autumn Hibernation post that I said it reminds me of one of my most favourite video games. I burnt it the whole time I was playing through Portal 2, which I really took my time over, so as well as smelling good in general, it also smells like the game for me. It's what I imagine the Aperture Science labs smell like. Weird, I know. That will mean nothing if you don't know the game, but it's certainly evocative. Video games aside, it's the ultimate woody candle. Buy it and thank me later.
The candle is available to buy from here.
Skandinavisk SKOG Candle
No surprises that Skandinavisk is a Scandinavian-based company, but it's actually run by two English friends who fell in love with a Danish and a Swedish girl respectively and then decided not to go home. As they point out on their website, Scandinavians burn more candles than any other nations in the world. Is it any wonder I'm so smitten with their way of life? They decided to try and capture that in a collection of scented candles that reflect the region. Needless to say that with SKOG I'm hooked and really looking forward to making my way through some of the others. They describe this as 'the calm of the Boreal Forest'. It's a soft pine and fir scent *cough* Christmas tree *cough* with some leather and Lily of the Valley added to make it more interesting. It fills the air without smacking you in the face and doesn't have any of that bathroom cleaner scent you often get from Christmas tree emulating candles. You may need the bigger version for a very large space, but the £25 one fills a medium sized room nicely. A reed diffuser is also available.
All are available to buy from here.
The White Company Noir Candle
I first discovered The White Company's Noir collection when a hotel I was staying in left some of their products in the bathroom. I couldn't stop smearing the body lotion over myself. It's not often that a fragrance I want to wear on my skin is also something I want in a candle. The only other that went from candle-to-perfume is Miller Harris Noix de Tubéreuse. Never have I been stopped to ask about my perfume more than when I'm wearing that one. Noir, however, is a blend of mandarin, warm amber and sandalwood. That makes it sound especially Christmassy, and it certainly can be, but the mandarin gives it a slight freshness that stops it being too heavy. I've been wearing the perfume over the past few weeks for that reason. Depending on which scent you go for, The White Company candles can push it a bit on price, but I've rarely burnt one that lasts as long as Noir. You get a lot of burn-time for your money. I can't imagine not having it around in one way, shape or form.
The entire collection including the candle is available here.