Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Advent day Four

Day Four


Ever since I was a very small child I have loved candles. In a time before I have many conscious memories, my father decided one year at Christmas that he would not put the usual electric fairy lights on the Christmas tree. So that year, he did things differently. He and my mother always used to wait till my brother and I went to bed on Christmas eve before putting up the tree and any decorations. That year, he went one step further. When we came down, excited to see if Father Christmas had been, Dad hurried to the living room; late the previous evening, he had fixed tiny candles to the branches of the Christmas tree. As we ate breakfast, Dad lit all the candles and called us in. I have no actual memory of this event; I was probably two or possibly three at the time. But it has become part of me now and I believe my love of candle-light originates there. My mum hates candles and is scared of things catching fire, so there were few opportunities during my childhood to enjoy them (you can’t count the time of the three day week, power cuts and the so-called winter of discontent; candles were hardly a delight during those times!)

Candles add magic to every day life; they soften and sweeten even the most mundane of events. They make eyes sparkle and faces become more beautiful and mysterious. I would not like to rely on them alone for light, but being able to choose them to beautify a room is a special delight. Beeswax candles make the most glorious of candles, the light they shed being especially golden and mellow, and the added bonus is the scent of honey and propolis that they exude as they burn. One of these days I’ll make some with our own beeswax.


5 thoughts on “Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Advent day Four

  1. Good Morning Viv,

    Just to say thank you for this lovely post, it has added a bit of magic to my day just like the candles you write about …

    I am really enjoying your version of an advent calendar and look forward to reading your posts every day.

    Kind regards,

    Patrizia Lovell

  2. Until about ten years ago I was a purist and only lit the tree with candles. That required as much expenditure on boxes and boxes ( replaced every night) as on the tree, often hazardously on fire! My husbands anxiety about Christmas was not aided by standing guard, eating at speed, in deference to my aesthetic! Sometimes ( and regretfully) aesthetics have to yeild. We now have lights and serenity, the candles are still there but unlit!

      • Not sure I agree with you. If aesthetics were masters, and we lived within their constraints imagine what the world would look like? No little boxes all made out of ticky tacky, no rain forests felled, no Tescos et al out of town. Actually that’s a pretty good new dictator to root for!

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