If you follow me over on Instagram, you may notice that candles feature quite highly in my posts and stories. So much so, in fact, that I often receive messages asking me why we burn candles – does it have a special significance? Why do we do it? So I thought I would write about how we how and why we use candles in the home.

37c06beb-a33a-4274-9832-eec01f53e853

They form part of our meal and snack rhythms… During autumn, winter, and spring (and any grey summer days!) all of our meals and snacks at home are accompanied by candle light. Rhythm is really important to us as a family; by making our days and weeks more predictable the whole family feels less overwhelmed and children feel more in control of their days. Rhythm is not about establishing strict routines or schedules; rather, a strong rhythm creates freedom through establishing a flow which feels natural, where everyone knows what comes next. If the concept of rhythm in new to you, meals are the perfect place to start. Although mealtimes with young children can sometimes feel thankless, the repetition and rhythm built around them slowly becomes habit and children accept these rhythms as “the way we do things.” For us, lighting a candle is part of that rhythm – day in, day out, we eat and light candles and read and talk around the dining table – and one I hope Frida will look back on this rhythm with joy.

…and other parts of the day. It’s not just meals – until recently we used a candle as part of Frida’s bedtime rhythm too. We would light the candle to whisper some sweet dreams into her ears, then she would make a wish and blow it out. I loved this part of our bedtime rhythm and it worked well for a while, but at Frida’s request we’ve stopped doing it as she said she didn’t like the smell of the smoke as she was going to sleep. It’s not just for Frida either – I tend to get up early before anyone else, and the first thing I do when I get up is light a candle in the study and sit down to journal by candlelight, and I often burn a candle whilst working at my desk.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

To celebrate! Not just candles on a birthday cake or burning on a Chanukiah, but seasonal rings for Easter, candles in a celebration ring to celebrate the shift to a new season, or the start of a new month. I’m a big fan of slow celebrations, and of making celebrations out of everyday moments, and candles play a big part in this – for me, it’s not really a celebration if there are no candles lit.

They provide a sense of ritual. I love how lighting a candle at the start of each meal signifies that the meal is starting, just like blowing it out at the end of the meal shows that it’s time to leave the table. It’s the same for me when I work or journal; lighting a candle brings a sense of ritual to my work and makes that moment feel even more precious and special.

They bring beauty into our home. Simply put, burning candles which look and smell good brings beauty into our home, something which is important for me, especially with a young child in the house. They make our home feel cozy too, which is useful as our house is pretty cold and draughty in the cooler months. A candle and some fairy lights, and I feel a bit warmer.

As a form of self-care. Yes, they are ephemeral, but I’ve started to embrace using things which run out such as nice candles or bath oil rather than saving them for “best” like I used to do (I realise that being able to buy these things is a huge privilege). I now feel like life is too short to save good things for the future – that best never comes, and all you’re left with is dusty candles and old smelling bath oil. Using up nice things now is a message to myself that I am worth it.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

My favourite candles are these 100% beeswax ones (they also sell a stubby shape here) – they are a bit pricey but they smell divine and I’m happy that they are pure beeswax. If you don’t want to use beeswax, there are many vegan options out there too (just stay away from anything with a paraffin base as these release carcinogenic fumes).

Rhythm in the Home 

Crafting a strong, dependable family rhythm has been truly life-changing. Having a rhythm that Frida could understand and anticipate has brought more ease and joy into our home than I could ever have imagined, and I have seen first-hand the power of rhythm in reducing feelings of overwhelm – for me just as much as Frida – and in increasing how much control she feels over her life.

I truly believe that creating such rhythms for your family can be life-changing. I do not, however, think that one size fits all. All families are different, so it makes sense that each family’s rhythm will be different too. That’s why I created Rhythm in the Home, my sell-out course dedicated wholly to helping you find clarity around what you truly need from your family rhythm, and confidence in crafting it. You can read more about Rhythm in the Home here before booking opens on Thursday 11 October for the last course of the year.

Do you use candles in your home every day, or do you save them for special occasions? 

Posted by:Eloise R

3 replies on “Why we use candles

  1. I really liked what you said about using ephemeral things. I’m reading Jane Eyre with my students at the moment and there is a part early on in the novel which really speaks to me. Jane has become ill after being treated very badly and is offered a treat on a special plate she had always wanted to hold but had never been allowed: “Bessie had been down into the kitchen, and she brought up with her a tart on a certain brightly painted china plate, whose bird of paradise, nestling in a wreath of convolvuli and rosebuds, had been wont to stir in me a most enthusiastic sense of admiration; and which plate I had often petitioned to be allowed to take in my hand in order to examine it more closely, but had always hitherto been deemed unworthy of such a privilege. This precious vessel was now placed on my knee, and I was cordially invited to eat the circlet of delicate pastry upon it. Vain favour! coming, like most other favours long deferred and often wished for, too late! I could not eat the tart; and the plumage of the bird, the tints of the flowers, seemed strangely faded: I put both plate and tart away.”
    I just find it devastating that this much-desired object, witheld for no very good reason, is offered too late and can no longer offer solace. It’s such a lesson in generosity, kindness, trust and love.

  2. Through reading your blog, I too have started using my ‘best’ and recognising the joy of the experience and savouring it. We now light a candle at mealtimes, and I am currently writing this on a bright computer screen but with a candle to off-set it. I have also been reading that in the long run, we are in danger of retina damage with all the blue light and modern LED lights, so I really make an effort to use candles more-especially when putting my baby to sleep. It’s such a soft light and then I just take it with me when I leave the room.

Leave a Reply to Diktynna Cancel reply