A Friday Chat About Scented Candles

Photo credit: helen, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday!

MAURA: Happy (rainy) Friday!

NICOLE: It’s actually quite sunny here! Though still windy and cold out.

MAURA: Ann Arbor is very gray and February-ish today … I have a candle burning on my desk to brighten things up.

NICOLE: Oh, that is nice. The candle part, I mean. Do you do the scented candles, or the unscented kind?

MAURA: This one is scented. “Sparkling cinnamon,” the label says. It was an impulse purchase when I was out Christmas shopping and is now almost burned down. I’ll have to find a spring scent when this one is done.

NICOLE: How much do you pay for candles? I know from Kelly Conaboy’s column at The Hairpin that candles can get seriously expensive. Didn’t she write about a candle that cost, like, $80? This one cost $35.

MAURA: I must have missed that Hairpin post, but yeah, candles aren’t as cheap as I always think they should be. I got this one at Kohl’s with a 30 percent off coupon and it was on sale, but I think it still cost about $15. That’s about the most I would ever pay, I would say. Admittedly, that’s a lot of money for something that’s designed to be set on fire.

NICOLE: True! But you’re also paying for the scent and the fact that the candle comes in its own holder. Right? Because we used to own candleholders and now, like, nobody does. Candles come in jars now. I remember a whole bunch of Christmas candleholders from when I was a child, shaped like snowmen and angels.

MAURA: Exactly! I inherited two crystal candleholders from my grandmother and I have no idea if I’ll ever use them. I don’t have a formal dining room like she did and can’t imagine setting up crystal candlesticks on my Ikea table. They would just look ridiculous and out of place. The candles in jars suit my decorating aesthetic, I guess.

NICOLE: I agree. Plus candles have gotten a lot chunkier since the jar era. Maybe we’re getting four times as much candle now, which is why we’re paying so much!

MAURA: “More candle for your dollar.”

NICOLE: But — and correct me if I’m wrong, because I’ve never actually lived in an apartment where I could have candles — doesn’t a lot of that wax just never burn? The candle flame burrows a hole in the center of the jar, and all of the side wax never gets to participate in the process.

MAURA: A bonus of homeowning: freedom to burn candles! This one (it’s a Yankee Candle, btw, if that means anything) is burning down very evenly, so I don’t think wasted wax will be a problem. Maybe the quality of the wax makes a difference? Someone who knows science-y stuff better than I do could chime in on that. But it does raise a Billfold-y question: does it make sense to spend more for high-quality candles, if you get more use and less waste out of them in the end?

NICOLE: That is a good question. Let’s turn it over to the team — and enjoy our weekends!

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