Festive Home Fragrance

Christmas Gift Guide Day One

Ah, December. You’re finally here. A month which can present many delights, but also confront us with the twin challenges of spending an evening in a Winter Wonderland themed marquee with our work ‘chums’, and hours spent traipsing round the shops looking for gifts, dodging people that are wheeling trollies erratically and shouting “Brian! Do we need Stollen this year?”. I can’t help with the first challenge, but if you’re in the market for any beauty gifts this year, let me spend the next 24 days guiding you past groaning buffet tables of beauty delights, pointing out the highlights as we go. Think of it as a virtual daily tot of mulled wine and mountain top segment of Toblerone (old style, before they finally ruined 2016 for good).

Before we start buying for others, however, let me suggest you spend today doing a little self gifting (you deserve it, after all, what with having to spend a night in a marquee where they fire glitter cannons at midnight and play Hi Ho, Silver Lining). If you’re anything like me you get up on 1st December and are seized with an instant urge to pile blankets on the sofa, string the dog with fairy lights and make the place smell like a giant pomander. Also, if you’re anything like me, you get up on New Year’s Day and stare with undisguised loathing at the Christmas tree, declare a sudden hatred of anything smelling of pine or cinnamon and waste a good hour seeing if any skip companies are open for immediate removal of anything sparkly. So now’s definitely the time to get some festive fragrance open at home, so you can enjoy it right through December and watch it gracefully run out around the same time as the Quality Street. I’ve been burning and sniffing candles and diffusers since the start of October, and here’s what I love this year.







At the premium end of the market, Jo Malone’s Orange Bitters candle (420g, £120) is a gorgeous blend of oranges, prune and sandalwood in a striking black and gold harlequin jar. It’s a larger size than their standard candles, and so will last you a really good while. Kings of candles, Cire Trudon, have a beautiful set of festive votives (3 x 100g, £160), also available separately in a larger size of 270g (£70). To my mind all their jars look perfectly at home at Christmas in any case, so if you’re in the market for a premium candle you really could go with any of their fragrances that you found festive.  As ever, Diptyque have got their Christmas candles spot on – beautiful jars and a choice of three scents (Un Encens, Epices et Délices and Le Roi Sapin) in both votive (70g, £28) and standard (190g, £48) sizes.




Elemental Herbology’s Earth Candle (£38) contains cedarwood, mandarin, frankincense and geranium. It’s not overtly a festive candle but sits very happily within a Christmas theme and I thought it had a gentle, calming scent. I also really loved Marmalade of London’s Precious Spice range (from £6.99 for a small tin candle) – a really warming scent of clementine, clove and cinnamon with great throw for the price. Sainsbury’s have a small jar candle in Christmas Spice (£6) which is good value, and Waitrose have a Christmas selection by Wax Lyrical – I picked up Orange and Clove for £10.


I always think pine is a tricky scent to get right – too full on and it veers dangerously towards cleaning aisle territory, but some brands pull it off with aplomb. Jo Malone’s Pine and Eucalyptus diffuser (£62) achieves a lovely, classy pine fragrance – I had this one last year near my Christmas tree and it was loved by everyone who came to visit. Two candle brands that are new to me this year are Charles Farris, who have the most gorgeous soft pine scented candle on a base of amber and sandalwood (£60) and Rathbornes, whose Bitter Orange, Birch Tar and Balsam candle (£30) was a lovely blend of fir and orange. I’ll definitely be revisiting both brands after Christmas for non festive scents.

miller_harris_hope_joy_christmas_giftset_2016Finally, Miller Harris have produced what they call a ‘curious contrast’ of a candle – Hope and Joy is inspired by Ibizan figs and designed in collaboration with illustrator Matty Bovan. You can get it as a single candle (£30) or as gift set (£55) that includes a wick trimmer and matches. I think the fig makes it work nicely as a Christmas candle, but this would also be a lovely gift for January and beyond.



Debra Brock

Debra Brock is co-founder of salihughesbeauty.com and a contributing writer.

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