The Season of Candles is Here!

[Frontspiece: This seems like a bad idea to me. Does it seem like a bad idea to you? ShoppingGirls take note: Your creative ideas are genius, but when you are working with candles, you have to exercise discretion. Remember, fire is involved. Photo via funholidaycrafts.com]

 

 

As ShoppingGirls know, all of the upcoming holidays are enhanced by filling your home with beautiful candles. Whether you prefer real candles, LED faux options, or a mix of both to suit your decor and entertaining goals, you can find the perfect light to shine upon your glowing, brilliant life!

 

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays in the U.S.A. Gathering with family and friends for a traditional feast, we focus our minds, hearts, and spirits upon gratitude for all of our many blessings.

Thanksgiving is an ideal opportunity to incorporate candles into your decorating scheme. The warmth of candlelight highlights seasonal Fall colors, and flatters your guests (and you)!

National Geographic's fair-trade online store, Novica, features many delightful decor items. "Wonderful Spring" candelabra, by Magdaleno Fierro of Mexico. novica.com
National Geographic’s fair-trade online store, Novica, features many delightful decor items. “Wonderful Spring” candelabra, by Magdaleno Fierro of Mexico. novica.com

In some parts of the country (and the rest of the world), November brings with it temperate weather and revitalized natural surroundings. This show-stopping centerpiece symbolically expresses a mood of abundant gratitude, while maintaining old-school Thanksgiving vibes through the earthy color and texture of terra cotta. Display it on your sideboard buffet, entry table, or mantel to delight your family and friends. With spots to hold four taper candles, you can use it again during the Christmas season as your warm Advent tradition. National Geographic’s online store, Novica.com, features a world full of fairly traded handcrafted goods that you can purchase from the artisans who make them.

 

 

Two feet tall! Set of 12 taper candles. overstock.com
Two feet tall! Set of 12 taper candles. overstock.com

At 24 inches (that’s two feet!) tall, these slender ivory taper candles will create astounding drama on your Thanksgiving table. Radiating flattering candlelight from above upon your seated diners, the gentle flames won’t be positioned low enough to blind your guests as they rave to each other about how delicious your fabulous Thanksgiving feast is. Perch them in the tallest candle holders you can find for ultimate impact. The tapers are neutral and will suit any decor style. Even better, they also come in 12-inch and 18-inch lengths. I don’t need to tell creative ShoppingGirls that their holiday guests may swoon from the stunning effects possible using all of these taper lengths in seasonal decorative arrangements around the home. If you don’t end up using the generous set of 12 tapers during the winter holidays, no worries; they are equally useful throughout the year. How about an array along a headboard shelf behind your bed, for starters?

 

Let’s talk about candle accessories for a moment. Many people don’t keep vital candle accessories on hand because they either don’t use candles frequently, or they just assume that they can get by without them. However, there are several candle accessories which ShoppingGirls should own, because those tools make it safer and easier to use and maintain candles.

Wavy rim bobeches. Yes, there may be a little extra space in the bobeche opening in relation to the diameter of your candle, but don't worry; the viscosity of melted wax is such that little, if any, will squeeze through. vermontcountrystore.com
Wavy rim bobeches. Yes, there may be a little extra space in the bobeche opening in relation to the diameter of your candle, but don’t worry; the viscosity of melted wax is such that little, if any, will squeeze through. vermontcountrystore.com

One such accessory is the candle bobeche. It is a small ring, typically made of glass, which serves as a tiny tray on top of your candle holder to keep wax drips under control.

Classic straight rim bobeches do a valuable job for candle lovers. Sold in sets of two; get enough plus a few spares for all of your candle needs during the festive season, and stop that nagging worry about wax dripping onto your fav tablecloth. vermontcountrystore.com
Classic straight rim bobeches do a valuable job for candle lovers. Sold in sets of two; get enough plus a few spares for all of your candle needs during the festive season, and stop that nagging worry about wax dripping onto your fav tablecloth. vermontcountrystore.com

You simply place the bobeche on top of the candle holder. The taper candle fits into the holder through the hole in the center of the bobeche. These little candle accessories do a great job of keeping wax from ruining your table surfaces. They also greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the onerous taste of removing dripped wax from your candle holders. If you have already experienced the hassle of trying to remove wax from anything, in particular elaborately detailed candlesticks with delicate finishes, you’ll appreciate the value in owning a set of bobeches.

 

Other things that reduce dripping wax: Using candles made from 100% beeswax; freezing your candles before lighting them, so that the wax is well chilled; using hurricane shades, lanterns, or similar candle covers; keeping candles away from drafts; and ensuring that candles are straight, level, and secure in their holders.

 

Another excellent tool for candle lovers is the candle base shaver, also known as a candle sharpener.

If you use taper candles, you need a Candle Sharpener. vermontcountrystore.com
If you use taper candles, you need a Candle Sharpener. vermontcountrystore.com

A candle sharpener works just like a pencil sharpener, but is used on the base of a taper candle, so that you can customize the fit to better match that of your candle holder. While many people attempt to do this using a kitchen knife or whatever is at hand, this method is faster, safer, neater, and very effective. Just a couple of twists is likely all that is needed to make your taper candle fit snugly into your candle holder.

 

As an aside: Leftover wax can be handy stuff. If you’re a frugal ShoppingGirl who has kids, or is crafty, you may wish to save all of your candle shavings, vespers and ends for future craft projects. Leftover wax from uncolored candles can be used for various household cleaning and repair concoctions. Wax left over from uncolored 100% beeswax candles can even be used in cosmetics, such as home-made lip balm; “bee” sure the beeswax remnants are clean, of course…. It is best to store wax in a glass container like a recycled jam jar or what have you. Plastic bags may stick to the wax over time, making it difficult to remove without bits of plastic embedded in the wax, and paper bags may allow wax residues to leach through and mar other surfaces.

 

What if your problem is that your candles are too small to fit in your candle holders? Then you need a product called Stick-Um:

Stick-Um Candle Adhesive, for when your candles are too narrow for your candle holders. vermontcountrystore.com
Stick-Um Candle Adhesive, for when your candles are too narrow for your candle holders. vermontcountrystore.com

If you haven’t yet discovered the nearly duct-tape like powers of Stick-Um yet, now is the time. A pretty little tin filled with super-sticky wax, this stuff will quickly secure your candles in place. Wobbly candles are dangerous, so you need to keep some Stick-Um to hand, and not try to fake it with jury-rigged solutions. Even better, Stick-Um is great for lots of household uses besides holding candles in too-large candle holders. If you live in earthquake country (or around kids or pets that create similar temblors in your house), you’ll find a little Stick-Um adhered to the bottoms of your knick-knacks make them less inclined to tumble off shelves. Stick-Um likewise keeps hanging artwork from tilting to an irritatingly misaligned angle. It does all sorts of other useful things, which will occur to you as it’s needed. It is a product that belongs in every ShoppingGirl’s toolkit or utility drawer.

 

Old-timey candle tools that you should own:

Onlywax brand Candle Tools Set is available in several colors, including this popular metallic rose gold. amazon.com
Onlywax brand Candle Tools Set is available in several colors, including this popular metallic rose gold. amazon.com

Candle tools are another thing that many ShoppingGirls pass on, which is regrettable, because they make candle maintenance and use much easier, safer, and more affordable. Proper handling and maintenance of your candles extends their usefulness and beauty, and that saves you money, as well as enhances your home environment and party decor settings. Candle tools are hard to find, making this pretty set by Onlywax even more rewarding. The well considered trio includes the basics you need, in a fashionable color. The tools are sturdy and easy to use, featuring handles that are long enough to be safe and effective, even when reaching into a deep poured glass candle or up onto a mantelpiece display.

Blowing out candles isn’t the best approach. You will create extra smoke, and may splatter wax, as well as possibly cause the wick to curve over. Pinching candles is just as bad; even if you don’t burn your fingers from the flame or hot wax, you run the risk of a hot wick ember or wax falling on your sleeve, which will leave a mark or possibly even set you on fire! Don’t do these things. Instead, extinguish your candles with this Wick Snuffer tool. It quickly does the job, results in minimal smoking, and keeps the wick standing upright. You want that so that the candle will continue to burn properly when re-lit.

Not all candles are made with equal quality, however. At times, your candle wicks may fall over, even becoming embedded in pooled wax. If this happens, the Candle Wick Lifter tool will make it much easier and neater to realign the wick upright.

If the wick is too long to start with, or becomes too long during burning, you will need to trim it. the Wick Trimming Scissors tool makes this easy, even while the candle is still hot, or if the wick is located deep in a pillar or container. With most candles, you generally want to keep the wick length between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch long. It is not uncommon to need to trim a wick every few hours, to achieve the maximum burn time, reduce flickering, and lessen the risk of dripping.

Both of these tools are also handy for removing any bits from the pooled wax while the candle is burning, such as chunks broken from the main wick (or, sadly, the occasional tiny creature such as a moth). You want to remove such bits promptly to avoid smoking or flare-ups that may lead to rapid melting, dripping, or a fire risk.

 

Now that you have all of the basic accessories you need for your candles, let’s look at some more great options for Thanksgiving!

The scent of pure beeswax won't compete with your Thanksgiving dinner for attention. Spiral Octagon Pillar Candles in several sizes. beeswaxco.com
The scent of pure beeswax won’t compete with your Thanksgiving dinner for attention. Spiral Octagon Pillar Candles in several sizes. beeswaxco.com

For many ShoppingGirls, Thanksgiving is all about the food, for they are preparing edible Art! Still, you may want some candles as enhancements rather than features. Candlelight makes food look even more delicious and appealing. (Even an iconic chef like Julia Child knew the power of setting the dinner table with candles….) Since you will be cooking all day, you won’t want to hassle with or worry about your candles. 100% beeswax pillar candles are an excellent choice for such scenarios. Their delicate, faint honey scent will enhance the setting without detracting from the aromas of your feast. Beeswax doesn’t smoke; it burns slowly and evenly without flickering, producing lovely, universally flattering golden light. The Spiral Octagon Pillar Candles from beeswaxco.com, shown above, are a great choice. Simple and non-distracting, the subtle spiral detail makes these a bit more elegant than a typical chunky pillar candle. Scatter a few in different sizes among your sideboard offerings and down the center of your dining table for classy warmth.

 

Instant collection. Glass Harvest Candle Holder includes 9 different tea light cups and a wood tray in the set. overstock.com
Instant collection. Glass Harvest Candle Holder includes 9 different tea light cups and a wood tray in the set. overstock.com

This “instant collection” makes an instant table centerpiece, instant mantel display, instant coffee table feature, or instant entryway highlight. Among other things. You can always break up the set for further decorating possibilities too, of course. The slender, rectangular wood tray is perfect for Fall Harvest decor, and will play nicely with decorating schemes including Mid-Century, Country, Rustic, Traditional, Eclectic, and lots more. The assortment of nine glass tea light holders come in a perfect mismatched-look range of smoky, tawny tints, geometric textures, and heights to achieve a casual, current look for your Thanksgiving festivities. It’s also easy to carry and move from table to living room for coffee and pumpkin pie a couple hours after everyone has stuffed themselves with your tasty Thanksgiving dinner. Following the festive day, use it year round for everything else you may need candles for. And of course, there’s plenty of room on the tray to add your own decorative treasures.

 

Highly detailed, gleaming Floral Candle Orb hand-made by Satnam Sarna in Bali. Available from National Geographic's fair-trade online store. novica.com
Highly detailed, gleaming Floral Candle Orb hand-made by Satnam Sarna in Bali. Available from National Geographic’s fair-trade online store. novica.com

When it comes to Thanksgiving decorations, many ShoppingGirls think in terms of the rich autumnal colors of the Fall season, highlighted with the gleam of warm gold, brass, and bronze. All of those delightful details are captured in Satnam Sarna’s Floral Candle Orb. This plump, fruit-like candle features a deeply detailed and heavily gilded chrysanthemum floral and leaf design. Even better, it will burn just down the center, leaving you with a beautiful lantern shell, which can be re-used year after year by placing a tealight inside.

Satnam Sarna's candle in a vase shape. The Gold Colored Floral Vase Shaped Candle is also available at novica.com.
Satnam Sarna’s candle in a vase shape. The Gold Colored Floral Vase Shaped Candle is also available at novica.com.

Satnam Sarna makes a coordinating candle in a charming vase shape, too. It also will burn just in the center, leaving you with a lantern shell which you can use with a tealight inside. Note that you could also use the vase shaped lantern shell for a dried floral arrangement, or with fresh flowers, by inserting a small glass container inside.

 

A dramatic 30-inch candle display for your wall. Clancy Circular Wall Decor Candle Holder. overstock.com
A dramatic 30-inch candle display for your wall. Clancy Circular Wall Decor Candle Holder. overstock.com

Maybe you are looking for a way to draw the attention of a large party crowd hunting for the buffet? Or perhaps you want to create a wall feature in your dining room to highlight your Thanksgiving table? The Clancy Circular Wall Decor Candle Holder offers dramatic, swooping impact that is still rustic, in the right way, for a Fall feast. For the punch this offers, it is an affordable way to make use of candles in your decor, since you’ll only need 10 inexpensive tealights to finish it off. Crafty ShoppingGirls will already be mulling over the many ways they could enhance this display for holidays and events. How about a temporary color wash on the frame, or outside of the cups, for starters? Big display item that’s also easy to store? Yet another plus for this useful multi-candle holder.

 

Yes, these are pure beeswax tea light candles, in clear containers! beeswaxco.com
Yes, these are pure beeswax tea light candles, in clear containers! beeswaxco.com

Perfect for adding to your wall display tea light candle holder, or scattering anywhere, these hard to find tea light candles are made of pure beeswax! Even more amazing, they come in the standard silvertone metal cups, or in clear plastic cups, as shown above. Sometimes the silver cups are pretty, other times you want the pure beauty of the beeswax to show through. Remember too, beeswax burns slowly, evenly, and releases a delicate hint of honey scent into the air. You can’t beat it for candles, especially at dinner parties or events, where people who might be sensitive hope to avoid scented candles or the smoky smell of paraffin wax.

 

Pair of Harvest themed candle holders bear mottos of gratitude. Wheat Votive Candleholders in Brown. overstock.com
Pair of Harvest themed candle holders bear mottos of gratitude. Wheat Votive Candleholders in Brown. overstock.com

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is focused not just on food, but on words. Words of thankfulness, gratitude, and renewal of appreciation for those things that we may come to take for granted throughout the year. These Wheat Votive Candleholders are cleverly designed as sheaves of wheat. One is bundled with a design of oak leaves and acorns bearing the motto, “We give Thanks.” The other is bundled with two ripe wheat spears encircling the motto, “We are Blessed.” These are the sentiments we embrace at Thanksgiving, making these charmingly rustic figural candle holders instant classics for your feast table.

 

Ivory Beeswax straight-sided candles feature Double Band designs in Gold, Copper and Brown. craftedcandles.com
Ivory Beeswax straight-sided candles feature Double Band designs in Gold, Copper and Brown. craftedcandles.com

Not all tapered candles are, well, “tapered”. Some, like these Ivory Beeswax Candles with Double Band Designs, have straight sides the entire way up to the wick. This means they contain a bit more wax than a true tapered candle, so you get a longer burn time. These particularly beautiful candles are made of pure beeswax. The base ivory color is highlighted with a metallic design. Narrow gold bands pair up with wider bands in alternating colors of copper and bronze brown. (Note: the candle holders shown in the photo are not included.) The design of these candles makes them a great choice for Mid-Century and similar decor settings. They also come in a similar silver-ringed pattern.

 

Get your money's worth. The Pennybacker Candle burns for an astonishing 60 hours! beeswaxco.com
Get your money’s worth. The Pennybacker Candle burns for an astonishing 60 hours! beeswaxco.com

With a great rusty, rustic, handmade look (because it is handmade), this Pennybacker Candle will delight fans of Western, Country, Arts & Crafts, and similar decor schemes. The glass has been hand-blown into the frame, forcing the molten glass deep between the twisted wires, creating a bubbly, quilted textural effect. Filled with 100% pure beeswax, this delightful candle will burn for about 60 hours, which might be just long enough for everyone to finally finish stuffing themselves with pumpkin pie at your Thanksgiving table.

 

Torment already-starving guests by burning this Cinnamon Roll Candle all day long while dinner's cooking. craftedcandles.com
Torment already-starving guests by burning this Cinnamon Roll Candle all day long while dinner’s cooking. craftedcandles.com

Many are blessed to have never (or at least uncommonly) known real hunger. That is one of the blessings that celebrating Thanksgiving reminds us to appreciate. With that acknowledgement, many of us do make a point of briefly “going hungry” to save up the calorie allotment and enhance our enjoyment of the Thanksgiving feast. If your crowd is of that persuasion, you probably shouldn’t burn this Cinnamon Roll Candle, while preparing the meal, because that would just be cruel. However, if you think your guests would benefit from some appetite stimulation, this is your tool of choice.

 

In our next post, we’ll take a look at some of the delightful options in candles and candle holders for the night-bright festival of Channukah (or Hannukah, as you prefer)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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