Bring brightness to your home for Hanukkah — or to dissipate the darkest days of the year.
The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, which began at nightfall on December 7 and continues until December 15, is also known as the Festival of Lights when Jewish people the world over light candles in a special menorah (candelabra) each day. Certainly this year is one where all of us could use a little more light than usual, and adding candles to your home, whether for cultural, religious or simply decorative reasons, is a lovely way to create a warm and welcoming glow.
If you are shopping for candles, there are several options to choose from when it comes to style (tea lights, votives, pillars, tapers), and materials.
Paraffin: Bulk tealights, mass-market pillars and, indeed, most candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum byproduct that has a high melting point and can carry a large amount of colour and fragrance. Paraffin candles are often inexpensive, but can emit an oily soot and chemicals that some people are sensitive to.
Beeswax: Natural beeswax candles burn cleaner and longer than paraffin, have a lovely honeyed fragrance and help clean the air of pollutants that can trigger asthma and allergies. However, colours are limited and beeswax can be quite pricy.
Liquid wax: Longlasting and clean, these candles are made from mineral or paraffin oil, do not produce smoke, soot or melted wax, and can burn for hours. They require a container and wick.
Other waxes: Soy candles are longlasting, don’t contain pollutants and won’t produce petrol-carbon soot. Bayberry wax is an eco-friendly plant-based wax combined with beeswax, with a naturally refreshing aroma. Palm wax is clean, burns efficiently and is compatible with fragrances; however, there are concerns about the environmental impacts of palm tree deforestation.
Flameless candles: These “fake” candles are a fire-safe choice that can look almost like the real thing. They are great for outdoor lanterns, mantels decorated with flammable garlands and almost any other situation that calls for candlelight. Plus you never have to worry about remembering where you put the matches. They are battery operated, and increasingly those batteries are rechargeable, making these a good choice when it comes to value, safety and esthetics alike.