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.
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.
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.
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?