Our Complete Guide to the Best Holiday Candles

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Outside, the sun is shining, it’s just over 50 degrees, and the trees haven’t even come close to losing all of their leaves. Inside, Brenda Lee Christmas is blaring on vinyl, my Christmas tree is twinkling, and the entire room smells like fresh-baked sugar cookies. That, my friends, is the magic of ambiance, all created by some expertly crafted holiday candles. 

When the weather and my mood just don’t match, the only thing to do is stay inside. A cozy night in isn’t complete without the perfect candle, so we did the hard work of sniffing dozens of holiday candles and rounded up the best ones. Whether you want your room to smell like a fresh-cut Christmas tree, the box of cigars your dad brings out every Christmas, potato latkes for breakfast, or a hodge-podge of holiday smells, we have you covered.

 

$20 and Under

AROMATIQUE

The Smell of Tree

scent description: pine, cedarleaf, fir balsam, bayleaf, clove, moss

I'll be honest, this is your classic balsam scent, but that's just why we love it. It burns evenly with a solid throw, and in this ribbed votive, we're smitten.

AROMATIQUE

The Smell of Christmas

scent description: clove, orange, cinnamon, spice, wood

This smells exactly like how my house smells while we're decorating for Christmas. Not that it smells like dusty old ornaments from the attic—it smells like baking orange for garland in the oven, cinnamon sticks, and the fire burning in the background.

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia

Bergamot Spice Candle

scent description: spice, bergamot

This scent is kind of a one-trick pony but in the absolute best way. Sometimes you don't need a heavy blend of unique smells for a good candle. This smells just like bergamot with a touch of spice—and it's all I need. My apartment becomes a home when this is burning.

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia

Citrus & Clove Candle

scent description: clove, citrus

Winter is about more than pine trees and cookies. It's also citrus season, and mixed with the spicy clove, this evokes happy winter days spent at home.

Threshold

Nordic Holly Berry Candle

scent description: cinnamon, berry, pine, lavender

This smells like frosted cranberries, while the touch of pine adds a Christmas tree element and the lavender grounds it. It's surprisingly layered considering it's under $10.

Opalhouse

Christmas Cheer Soy Candle

scent description: clove, vanilla, orange

Target bottled how a HomeGoods smells around the holidays, complete with a blend of sweet vanilla, fresh citrus, and spicy clove.

$21-$30

White Barn

Cozy Cashmere Candle

scent description: lavender, warm vanilla, pink jasmine, sandalwood

Cozy nights at home are what the holiday season is all about, regardless of what you celebrate. This is a seasonless candle that you can burn all year round, but it'll make the perfect pairing to a night reading in bed.

Bath & Body Works

Champagne Toast Candle

scent description: champagne, sparkling berries, sweet orange

Nothing says New Year's like a glass of champagne—or Bath and Body Works' famed Champagne Toast candle. For those who don't want the classic holiday scents but like to party (relatable), this delivers.

White Barn

Cinnamon Sugared Pecans Candle

scent description: cinnamon sugar, warm roasted pecans, brown sugar

If you want your kitchen to smell like baked goods (who doesn't?), I'm begging you to buy this candle. It's not so sweet that it'll induce a headache, but it's just sweet enough that you'll be placing an InstaCart order for a Pinterest dessert in no time.

Bath & Body Works

Winter Scented Candle

scent description: white woods, pine needles, sparkling clementine, spiced clove

All of your classic winter scents combine to make this delicious candle, complete with notes of spice, fresh citrus, and campfire.

Bath & Body Works

'Tis The Season Candle

scent description: rich red apple, sweet cinnamon, cedarwood

It's not the holiday season until I've started burning a 'Tis the Season candle. A quintessential blend of sweet cinnamon and apple with firewood, it's how I picture the Griswold house smells around Christmas.

White Barn

Sweater Weather Candle

scent description: fresh sage, juniper berry, aromatic eucalyptus, fresh woods

This smells like pulling on an old cashmere sweater from the back of your mom's closet. This delightfully layered candle is a twist on your traditional winter berry, thanks to notes of eucalyptus and woods.

Mala The Brand

Cottage Candle

scent description: mahogany, bergamot, coconut, cedarwood, sandalwood

Like spending Christmas Eve by the fire in a cottage upstate while you're wearing a cozy sweater playing Scrabble, this blend evokes all those warm winter feels.

The Koop

Holiday Peppermint Candle

scent description: coconut milk, peppermint, chocolate, vanilla

A candle that smells too much like candy canes isn't exactly up our alley, but this blend with coconut milk and chocolate and a splash of vanilla makes it decadent.

Etsy | Sweet Water Decor

Christmas White Jar Soy Candle

scent description: apple cider, cinnamon
fresh cut Christmas tree, cookies, orange peels, cloves

Somehow, this candle combines every single scent of the holidays into one dreamy candle without smelling overpowering. Each note comes through beautifully, and the throw is magnificent.

Yankee Candle

Christmas Cookie Candle

scent description: vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, sugar

Sometimes, you just want your whole house to smell like fresh baked cookies, and when that mood strikes, there's nothing on Earth that can satisfy like this classic Yankee Candle scent.

 

Source: Beth Gillette for The Everygirl

 

$31-$50

Maison Louis Marie

Swiss Alps Le Refuge d’Ernest Candle

scent description: applewood, clove leaf, cedar

For those who want a holiday scent but get headaches from all the other potent options on this list, you'll find a friend in this candle. It has a few classic holiday touches, like clove and cedar, but without all the sweet and pine that make it too much.

Otherland

Fallen Fir Vegan Candle

scent description: balsam fir, musk, winter spice

It's your classic pine tree scent, only richer. I imagine this is what a Christmas tree farm nestled in a fancy Connecticut boarding school would smell like, thanks to the addition of musk in your classic balsam scent.

FORVR MOOD

Cookie Coma Candle

scent description: almond, cinnamon, Tahitian vanilla

This is your grown-up holiday cookie smell, like dipping sugar cookies in a cup of coffee.

FORVR MOOD

Cabin Fever Candle

scent description: mission fig, honey, vanilla

A unique take on the traditional cabin scent, this is musky with a hint of sweetness, like you're baking in a toasty cottage. FORVR Mood candles last forever, so you'll burn this well into winter.

HOMESICK

Latkes & Lights Candle

scent description: baked apple, butter, potato, pomegranate, pound cake, vanilla, sugar, musk

This isn't your traditional holiday sweet smell, thanks to notes of musk and potato that will make you feel like you're cooking potato latkes in the kitchen with your whole family.

BOY SMELLS

Figurare Scented Candle

scent description: fig leaves, coriander seed, black pepper, pepperwood, fir balsam, cedarwood, cardamom, baies rose, lavender, nutmeg, patchouli

Boy Smells layers scents like no other candle company out there. I mean, look at that long list of notes. But they nail it just about every time, regardless of how unexpected the pairings might be. This sweet fragrance teeters the line of gourmand (thanks to the nutmeg), but spicy black pepper and cedarwood bring it back. It won't smell like what you think it does, but trust me: It's good.

HARLEM CANDLE CO.

Renaissance Ellington Luxury Candle

scent description: bergamot, cinnamon, clary sage, lily of the valley, rose, lavender, patchouli, amber, musk

Harlem Candle Company found a way to make their candles smell expensive as all hell without actually being expensive as all hell. This one is an amazing blend of bergamot, amber, cinnamon, and sage, with notes of fresh lily of the valley, rose, and lavender. It's so unique and smells special, perfect for the holidays.

$50 and Up

Maison Margiela

'REPLICA' By The Fireplace Scented Candle

scent description: clove oil, chestnut accord, vanilla accord

Because this began as a perfume, it has the workings of a fireplace candle plus sweetness in the ending notes from the chestnut and vanilla that make it so unique. It's pricey but will last you until next holiday season, no doubt.

NEST

Holiday Scented Candle

scent description: pomegranate, mandarin orange, pine, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, amber

This is often regarded as the best holiday scent out there, and we can't help but agree. If a Christmas candle was cheugy, this would be the antidote. It's a sophisticated blend of sweetness, woods, and citrus that feels rich without the pretentiousness.

DIPTYQUE

Feu de Bois/Wood Fire Candle

scent description: birch, juniper, cade

This smells like a fireplace the second you light the log—all the warmth without the burnt smell. Dare we say this is Diptyque's best candle? Often imitated but never duplicated, this scent is worth the high price tag and is so good, you could (and should) buy it now.

 

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