Best Christmas candles for gifting and creating a cosy ambiance

·10-min read

We all have our own individual experiences that form our consideration of the optimal Christmassy scent.

For some it’s the aroma of cinnamon or spices derived from mulled wine. Others may instead opt for woody scents, echoing the pine of your annual Fir tree. It may even be zesty notes of citrus and mandarin - or a combination of all three.

Scent has a powerful way of transporting us and is closely linked with memory. But it also has an overwhelming ability to set a mood. So it makes complete sense to switch your home’s signature scent during this time of year to ignite the seasonal spirit. Fill your space instead with the aromas that you best associate with this time of year. When you catch your first whiff of these evocative, enigmatic concoctions, it will help your mind and body register the magic of the time of year.

Fragrance houses the world over take great care in attempting to capture the elusive scent of Christmas.

These room-filling aromas create warmth and wellbeing. Whether you’re making the most of a quiet evening in or hosting a seasonal soirée with friends and family, your olfactory experience plays a huge part in the ambiance: resting and restoring when needed or breathing life into your space on the flip side.

See below for the Christmas spirit in candle form for your gifting or self-gifting this festive season.

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Jo Malone Holiday Heroes collection

Jo Malone London has unveiled its Holiday Heroes collection, it’s Christmas offering designed to simplify the gifting process. When it comes to the brand’s candles, you’ve got a failsafe gift and they have given them a festive makeover. The Pine & Eucalyptus and White Moss & Snowdrop are both available in candle form, the former of which is in every size and price point ranging from £25 to £330.

The Pine & Eucalyptus is an aromatic woody fragrance that will fill your home with the beautifully, suitably festive scent of the two main notes. It’s Christmas morning in fragrance form. The White Moss & Snowdrop mimics the freshness of falling snow and snowdrop petals peeping out as it settles.

Buy now £50.00, John Lewis

AllSaints Christmas Candles

You may not immediately associate fashion label AllSaints with its fragrance offering but that would be a mistake. Consider this all the push you need to invest in its bestselling unisex range. The dichotomies of the brand’s signatures are reflected in its scents. For Christmas, there are three new aromas with a warming feel; Sunset Riot, Metal Wave and Incense City. The candles are formulated with often considered contradictory elements from the natural and urban worlds like leather and metal with flora and wood. Similarly sun and sand with smoke and concrete create an usual but addictive olfactory effect. The jar itself mirrors this with a concrete exterior and wood embossed branding.

Buy now £39.00, AllSaints

Miller Harris new candles

Just in time for winter, fragrance house Miller Harris has transformed its home collection with six scents that nod to eco-friendly practices. Cosy up with the aromas of Tea - a blend of black tea leaves, green tea and earl grey with supercharged maté and refreshing notes of citrusy bergamot. Your morning cuppa and then some, it has a smokey, earthy base with warming nutmeg.

Mood-lifting Rose has notes of Turkish Rose Absolute, Blackcurrant, Cashmere Musk for a floral scent that is fruity and fun.

Tabac intermingles woody, sage and spicy notes from Tobacco Leaf, Patchouli, Cascarilla Oil and taking inspiration from Paris, famed Boulevard Saint-Germain.

The aroma of Santal has become hugely popular in recent years (no doubt in part due to Le Labo’s signature scent) and it is this woody note that takes a starring role in the next in the portfolio. It’s sensual and warm with a kick from pink pepper and an earthy base from amber and moss with sweet vanilla.

Mandarin is your failsafe citrus with a lovely, vibrant feel from the zesty combination of Sicilian green mandarin, grapefruit and lemon with marjoram and geranium. It dries down with a soft edge from cedar, moss and musk.

Last but not least, Figue captures the complexity of the fruit being both sweet yet transforming into something green and woody due to galbanum and cedarwood.

Each candle has a burn time of 50 hours with a larger 220g size. They are entirely vegan, and phthalate-free. The candles have been formulated from a natural soy and rapeseed wax blend.

Buy now £50.00, Miller Harris

Skandinavisk candles

The Scandinavian label knows a thing or two about setting the olfactory scene in the colder weather with its cult candle offering. The JUL literally translates to ‘Christmas’ and so combines all the signature scents; baked gingerbread, winter cloves, spiced oranges and mulled wine to set the ambiance. You won’t be able to resist the seasonal magic with this one.

SKOG or ‘forest’ takes a pine and wood note in the olfactory primaries as the name suggests. Inspired by the Boreal forests that stretch from southern Sweden to the Arctic Circle, it comprises of notes of pine needles, fir cones, birch sap and woodland lily of the valley.

Buy now £35.00, John Lewis

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Christmas Collection 1, 2, 3 Noel! Scented Candle Trio

Luxury fragrance house Maison Francis Kurkdjian has solved your gifting woes with its three limited-edition candles made for the festive season that will have them feeling all nostalgic and warm. You can opt for just one (£65) or the set of three.

The Pomme d’Amour Scented Candle takes inspiration from the funfair and the deliciously juicy aroma of a caramel-coated candy apple.

The Pain d’épices Scented Candle is a gourmand fragrance that combines notes of orange, honey, cinnamon and anise for a scent that is sweet, spice-filled and suitably festive.

Lastly, Mon Beau Sapin Scented Candle fills your room with the scent of a snowy forest that is woody and subtlety resinous and housed in a luxe lacquered vessel.

Buy now £95.00, Harrods

Boy Smells Limited Edition Christmas Holiday Collection

Interspersed among your carefully curated bookshelf or sideboard, Boy Smells has become a staple on the interiors scene. As much as they look chic in their eye-catching votives, it’s the scents themselves that have earned the LA-born label cult status.

For Christmas 2021, there is a brand new scent in the line-up. Figurare takes a contemporary twist on a fig leaf-based aroma with a hint of black pepper and cardamom as well as rose, lavender and fir balsam. The candle joins the relaunching of Broken Rosary with its notes of cedarwood, rose water and orris as well as De Nimes, a candle based on the French city with earthy violet, eucalyptus and blueberry and darker wood undertones.

In the brand’s signature style, all the fragrances are unisex.

Buy now £67.00, Space NK

Bulan candles

Bulan, the luxury lifestyle and homeware label, has two candles that need to be on your radar for the festive season and beyond. The Dark Noir Candle mingles woody yet sweet notes of pomegranate with a spice kick from pepper for a unisex scent. The Tobacco & Leather Candle can sit among either the woody or citrus family with its combination of Bergamot, Jasmine Spices, Vetivert, Cedar and musk.

Buy now £35.00, Bulan

Floral Street mini scented candle Discovery Set

If you’re looking for a sustainable gift for this Christmas, Floral Street is on hand. The independent, ethical fragrance brand uses conscious practises, all vegan ingredients and reusable and recyclable glass holders that are entirely free of plastic. The candles are crafted with natural cotton wicks and a soy wax blend that has a great fragrance oil content (12-14 per cent) to make it more room-filling and long-lasting.

Scent is a fairly personal thing so if you simply can’t decide, the brand is offering an all-new discovery set that contains four of the most popular fragrances in mini candle form for a combined total of 16 hours burn time. The uplifting quad consists of the vanilla bloom, wonderland bloom, grapefruit bloom and midnight tulip candles.

Buy now £18.00, Floral Street

Ormonde Jayne Limited Edition Christmas Candles

Ormonde Jayne has teamed up with Great Ormond Street Hospital for its annual limited-edition festive candles. With every one sold, the charity will get a 10 per cent donation. Housed in a gold embossed vessel, the trio - Etoile, Nocturne and Mystère - conjure classic Christmassy images; glittering snow, open hearth fires, pine cones and celebrations. Each burns for 60 hours.

Nocturne replicates that warm smokiness that you get the embers of an open log fire. It has the aroma of pine cones and cedar wood derived from tonka, pink pepper and amber and the rich base of cardamom and sandalwood.

Etoile is enriched with the vibrant elements of mandarin, bay, amber, tonka and cinnamon, while Mystère will breathe life into your home with tea notes. It comprises of bergamot, mandarin, lime and lapsang and anchored with a base of souchong tea notes, cedarwood and pine needles.

Buy now £80.00, F&M

Etro Demetra Candle

The Italian fashion label has a candle that will only be available for the festive period. It has the lively undertone of pine needles that offers a green counterpart to the sweetness of wild berries. The vessel is beautifully adorned with the opulent textiles used on the label’s clothing and accessories.

Buy now £70.00, Harvey Nichols

Goutal Paris Une Forêt D’Or Candle

Annick Goutal’s namesake label will transport you to the heart of the forest this festive season with the aroma of snow-dusted pines. But this is given a zesty, vibrant twist with the inclusion of fresh oranges and mandarins. For optimal burning, the candle is complete with a cotton wick and it will burn for up to 50 hours.

Buy now £65.00, Liberty

Diptyque Christmas Candles

The luxury French fragrance house is offering not one but three scented candles this festive season, designed to bring the magic of Christmas. A truly unique olfactory experience, there’s Biscuit creating the aroma of holiday baking (no elbow grease necessary) with a combination of patchouli and spices. Next up is Sapin that has notes of fresh woody pine and Flocon designed to replicate falling snow with white musks and mimosa. All the containers are embellished with a limited-edition gold sequin design.

Shop more scented candles here

Buy now £33.00, Space NK

Acqua di Parma Christmas Candle

Italian fragrance house Acqua di Parma excels in its seasonal scents each year and for Christmas 2021, the brand has added an extra chic element to its offering by teaming up with the fashion label Emilio Pucci.

Adorned with the latter’s signature Vortici print, this is the kind of aesthetically-pleasing vessel that will sit elegantly atop your fireplace or sideboard. It has the aroma of the brand’s Notte di Stelle with bright and warm notes from a combination of pine oil, birch and guaiac wood, with clove and a sweet burst from raspberry.

The brand gives back with this collection, contributing to the ‘Rewrite the Future’ campaign by Save the Children.

Buy now £72.00, Liberty

Frankincense & Myrrh 3-Wick Candle

The three wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh and it’s the latter two that make up ESPA’s new Christmas candle. Hand-poured and with pure essential oil, this scent will bring the Yuletide spirit. It offers a warming, woody aroma from the frankincense with an earthy, spicy note from the myrrh.

Buy now £100.00, ESPA

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