Whether they are flickering in the background on Zoom meetings or simply bringing the aroma of memorable faraway places to our living rooms, candles are helping us get through the dark winter of this pandemic. Their warm glow and soothing scent have become essential to our indoor survival.


“Sometimes, I’m really touched and blown away from the descriptions people write about how certain candles make them feel,” says Teri Johnson, founder of the Harlem Candle Company.


In a posting about Johnson’s Langston candle, which celebrates poet and playwright Langston Hughes, who was a leader of the 1920s and 1930s Harlem Renaissance, one reviewer wrote: “The scent is absolutely exquisite! It has quickly become my default selection for nighttime reading and listening to music.” The reviewer mentioned savoring the Langston candle’s aroma of “softly sophisticated notes of tobacco and leather.”


As you make your holiday candle selections, here are some shopping considerations compiled from candle-makers and others in the home-fragrance industry.




Fragrance is usually the most expensive component of a candle and one of the most important considerations. The scent of a candle can set a specific mood and is often a very personal decision.


Read fragrance descriptions to imagine what you’ll smell. Johnson mixes her Harlem Candle Company fragrance blends to reflect people or places she has researched from the history of Harlem. “In one, I wanted to re-create the boudoir of Josephine Baker,” she says. “I did research of how women perfumed themselves in the 1930s. Her luxurious boudoir was filled with roses, as I imagined so many fans were giving her flowers.” The resulting romantic blend of the Josephine candle includes bergamot, rose and amber.


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