Christmas finds us in the coldest, darkest time of year. Literally the bleak mid-winter of that famous Carol. ‘Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone’. We know it only too well. The cold bites, its relentless, unforgiving, and at times it seems it will never end. The warmth, light and new life brought by each year by Spring seems so very far away. We alter our lives to compensate ourselves for this loss of light and warmth. Our clothes change, we eat warming, hearty and satisfying meals, and make our homes warm and inviting.
Because of these months of harsh darkness, the damp and drab outside world fills us with a yearning for extra light. Over the years, Christmas has become a festival of lights. We decorate our homes, inside and out. Our public buildings take on new festive life, bedecked with coloured jewels and twinkling lights. And of course, there is the age old traditional use of candles at this time of year. Candles light the table on Christmas Day, we light them around the fireplace, and the hearth - traditionally the place where we’d gather in olden days, around the fire.
We use candles to set the mood and to bring an extra warm welcome to the ambience of our homes. From the bathroom to the dining table, candles give us comfort through the cold months. Their light changes the room, softening the atmosphere. Everything looks different by the soft, gentle orange glow of candlelight. Better, somehow.
Ever since the human race lived in caves, we’ve depended on fire and flame, for heat, for food and for that all important light. This is why over thousands of years, candles have become such a central part of religious and cultural celebrations across the world. One American tradition, still commonly practised today, is to display a lighted candle in a window overnight on Christmas Eve. This tradition was originally taken to the New World by the Irish settlers. They’d developed the practice back in Ireland when their religion was suppressed, as a means to signal to priests that there’s was a home which would welcome them, a place of guaranteed safety and security, a place where they could find sustenance and rest, and a place where they could worship in peace. Today in America, that symbolic gesture of burning a window candle still represents that peace, security and safety.
When we add fragrance to candles, we add another welcome layer of comfort. We’re able to fill the whole house with the rich, warming aromas of Winter. In-Scents Christmas tin candles bring together all of our favourite yuletide aromas, the rich and warm, comforting and inviting fragrances we know so well. The earthy intense scent of spices, the sharp and familiar citrus twist of fruit and the delicate floral notes of herbs, so synonymous with this time of year, reminding us at once of the roaring fire, the mulled wine, Christmas pudding, Cranberry sauce and the deep sweetness of fresh figs. The scent of the winter landscapes outside is brought inside as with our Christmas tree, and released into our homes via a slow burning flame, scenting this most special celebration of togetherness with neighbours, loved ones, new friends and old.
These long lived traditions, such as lighting candles, became traditions for one simple reason. They make us feel good, they enrich and bring comfort to our world, and they add something very special. We need moments like these in our lives, now maybe more so than ever, but especially at Christmas.
Now’s the time to banish the cold, celebrate the light, and have a very Merry Christmas.