Candles are one of those great gifts you can buy that are universally appropriate for anyone on your holiday shopping list. After all, everyone can love the relaxing experience of watching hypnotic shadows cast by a flickering flame while being transported to another time and place by soothing, indulgent aromas.
Research finds, of our five senses, smell is most closely related to memories and the strongest trigger of vivid nostalgia. For this reason, scented candles are an effective way to set the mood, promote relaxation, and usher in the holiday season. With scents from balsam and pine or a warm crackling fire to comforting gourmand fragrances like gingerbread, cinnamon, and spices, there is no lack of scents to choose from.
Most brands offer holiday candles in packaging that also add to holiday décor. From limited-edition wintery scenes and holiday motifs to gorgeous glass and ceramic vessels in traditional festive colors and shapes, these candles make a cheery addition to any mantle or centerpiece.
Whether you are decorating for the holidays, wrapping gifts, or entertaining, put on some jolly music and burn a scent that inspires you.
As an important note, always trim candle wicks and keep the wax pool free of debris. Trimming the wick (to ¼ inch – ½ inch) not only ensures an even and clean burn, extending the life of the candle but also keeps the flame at an optimal height (½ inch – 1 inch). A flame taller than one inch is a potential fire hazard.
To ensure an even wax melt, the first burn of a candle should be for a minimum of one hour for every inch in diameter of the candle size. Be sure the entire top surface of the wax is pooling. Also, never leave a burning candle unattended or within reach of children or pets.
Here are 12 festive holiday candles (one for each day of Christmas) starting under $20 that make perfect holiday gifts for that someone special on your list, or even just to treat yourself.
Evoke the feeling of the holidays with this Balsam & Cedar Vanity Tin Candle from Illume. Thoughtfully designed with exquisite illuminating qualities, it features a full wrap label, a metallic accented interior pattern, and a color-rolled edge that matches the colored wax. Fragrant notes of oakmoss with a base of fir needle mix with hints of cinnamon and eucalyptus for a rich, fresh, green fragrance.
This natural, plant-based wax blend is housed in a recyclable tin with an all-cotton wick that provides 50 hours of burn time. It also comes in a Woodfire scent or a glass votive. Alternatively, you can also get three complimentary candles in Balsam & Cedar, Woodfire, and Winter White.
Gilded Tree Candle
This Gilded Tree Candle in Vanilla Spruce or Mulled Cider, also from Illume, makes a great holiday gift because it not only fills your house with the scents of the season, but the beautifully designed ceramic tree doubles as a festive addition to your yuletide décor. It is the perfect elegant accent for any holiday table.
Notes of sweet vanilla, winter spruce, and eucalyptus linger for a burn time of up to 16 hours. For a simple but just as elegant option, there is also the golden Crackle Glass Candle in the Winter White scent. This candle is grounded in cool cardamom with a heart of evergreen kissed with sparkling citrus.
From the legendary French perfumer and pioneer of luxurious scent experiences, Diptyque, is the hand-crafted Feu de Bois (Wood Fire) Scented Candle. Encased in a reusable, sophisticated glass jar, the natural fragrances are a blend of rare wood essences that reproduce the characteristics of a real wood fire.
This scent provides a cozy warmth that soothes the senses with a balance of smoky and earthy notes, key among them birch, juniper, and cade. The slow, even burn ensures 60 hours of indulgence.
Transport yourself to your childhood when the delectable aroma of baking gingerbread instantly enhanced the mood of the holiday season with this luxuriously scented Gingerbread Candle from Calm Me. Notes of ginger, cream sweet butter, graham cracker, orange peel, sugar, cinnamon, and clove warm the heart with memories of holidays past.
Hand-poured in California, the non-toxic, 100% soy wax provides a cleaner, slower, and more even burn for up to 60 hours. This candle also uses environmentally friendly, lead-free cotton wicks.
Gingerbread not your thing? Calm Me also offers a Cinnamon Candle with key notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, sugar, and wood to get that holiday rush.
This Frasier Fir Votive Candle makes a great gift for those with an artificial tree. It infuses the air with that traditional fresh-cut tree holiday scent, and is easily the best-selling candle from Thymes with its crisp notes of Siberian fir needles, cedarwood, and sandalwood.
The classic white candle is contained in a decorative high-quality glass jar painted with pine needles for a festive holiday touch. The glass can also be repurposed after the candle finishes filling the air with a feeling of warmth and joy. It is also available in a winter pine design as a candle and diffuser duo, a set of two large candles, or in a ceramic case to enjoy the festive scent while maintaining your home’s curated ambiance.
Voluspa’s Small Jar Candle in Crushed Candy Cane envelops any room in the gourmand aroma of crisp peppermint swirled into the warm scent of freshly baked butter cookies. The unique, clean-burning coconut wax is hand-poured in the USA into a candy cane-colored and embossed glass vessel that can be up-cycled into a keepsake after the last burn. It also features a 100% natural wick and provides 50 hours of burn time.
Other wintery aromas we love include Baltic Amber, Forbidden Fig, Gily Pomander & Hinoki, White Cypress, and Spiced Pumpkin Latte.
Many Voluspa scents are also available in a decorative Macaron Candle with a burn time of 15 hours.
Nest New York
This classic duo pairs Nest New York’s two best-selling seasonal scented candles in one box: The Holiday & Birchwood Pine Candle Duo Gift Set. The Holiday scent sets the celebratory mood with notes of pomegranate, Mandarin orange, pine, cloves, and cinnamon, with a hint of vanilla and amber. Birchwood Pine has nostalgic notes of white pine, fir balsam, and birchwood over a base of rich musk and amber.
These candles are made with premium, soft, highly refined, cosmetic-grade wax to optimize burn and fragrance diffusion. They are also housed in reusable glass vessels etched with elegant, frosted stripes to compliment any décor. Each candle provides 50-60 hours of burn time.
Since 1884, Carriere Freres has been making luxury candles in the tradition of the master wax makers.
Their Scented Candle in Fig Tree combines spicy and sweet notes of fruit and spice with soft wood to capture the delicate romance of the fig tree. The Scented Candle in Cedar is dry, sophisticated, and enveloping with woods and resin.
These candles feature a careful blend of high-quality wax, perfume, and botanical essences. Encased in a clean white cylinder, they offer 50 hours of burn time.
Glasshouse Fragrances’ limited edition Christmas candles are made by hand with the highest quality, non-toxic soy blend wax for a burn that is pure, clean, and intensely fragrant. Two natural, lead-free cotton wicks ensure an even and safe burn for up to 65 hours.
The Winter Wonderland fragrance features top notes of pine needles, eucalyptus, and apple, mid notes of red fruits, fir balsam, and spruce, and base notes of cedarwood that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
Another holiday-scented offering from Glasshouse Fragrances is their White Christmas Candle. This candle has the same basic specifications as the above Winter Wonderland Candle but with different artwork and fragrances. It features top notes of aldehydes, greens, and orange, mid notes of eucalyptus, oak moss, fir balsam, plum, and lemon, and base notes of cedarwood, pine, amber, and musk.
Alternative to the candles are the brand’s diffuser and interior fragrance in the Night Before Christmas scent. There are also festive and wintery scents from the brand’s traditional line, such as Teak & Petitgrain or Vanilla Caramel.
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