Is there anything more magical on a cold winter morning than the soft glow of a yellow beeswax candle? I am not sure there is, and they smell so delicious and sweet! The scent is something that immediately transports me back to the early days of my childhood in North Carolina. We lived a short drive from Old Salem, a historical Moravian settlement, that is now a living history area of old town Winston-Salem. Every winter season, the shops are filled with the scent of beeswax candles, made in the same manner as they were hundreds of years ago.
And, they were an integral part of the Lovefeast, with each individual having a small, lit beeswax candle to hold during the special Christmas service. Our family always made attending the Candle Tea event, a part of our own Christmas traditions. The Candle Tea, in Old Salem, included singing carols accompanied by the 1798 Tannenberg organ, enjoying rich lovefeast coffee and Moravian sugarcake, watching as beeswax candles are made by hand, and viewing the Candle Tea putz. And, afterwards, we would bring many of these lovely candles home to fill it with their warmth and scent during the Christmas season.
We have been lighting these beauties throughout our day together at home, and it always adds a bit of whimsy and charm. It is a special ritual, having that tiny flame flickering while we have meal and chat about our day at the dining table. The girls have fallen in love with this daily occurrence, and are quick to remind me should I forget. Before we begin our meals, I light our candles and the oil lamp in the center of the table, as we recite this little Waldorf-inspired verse:
Light fairies, come to us
Bring to us your little light
See the little fairies shining bright, shining bright
Oh, how we love our little candle light
Our little verse is followed by a blessing over the meal, and then we begin our meal together. We also love lighting them during school and craft time to bring the warmth of their soft light into our space. There is a sacredness to rituals such as these. And, like some house plants, beeswax purifies the air...did you know this? The soft, calming light is one that has become a part of our daily, and especially, our winter time rituals. One that the children love as well, because sometimes blowing out the candles is as mesmerizing and enjoyable as watching the wax roll down the rows of honeycombs drop after drop.
This year, as a simple, but lovely, gift idea, I decided to roll some for my dear friends. They are lovely on their own, if you have someone in mind that would appreciate a homemade gift. But, with a jar of homemade hot chocolate powder, and several candy canes, they would make for a wonderful holiday gift. Handmade gifts are always the best kind, in my opinion. I may also use these as gift toppers with a pine and holly berry stick. So festive, and incredibly easy.
I used to pour my own beeswax tapers - the "old-fashioned" way - using an antique candle taper mold I had above. Unfortunately, that was one of the items we lost in our storage unit incident, and it has not been replaced yet because new ones are so pricey. So, how did I craft these? A kit. I have ordered beeswax candle kits before, and for those who are not so crafty, they are entirely fool-proof and the kids LOVE it because they can help too without risking burns from hot wax. I wanted to test the one I had previously against another brand to discover the differences between the two. Here is what I found...
The first kit I ordered made a more muted yellow candle. The wick was quite study but not very long, which meant I needed to run to the craft store for more soon after rolling some longer tapers. That being said, the height of these candles were rather tall, which I adore. So, that made up for the lacking of a sufficient amount of wick, in my opinion. You will need a square braid, if you do end up getting more. I prefer the look of a tall, lean taper in an antique brass or black holder. I also never pay more than a few dollars for my candle holders. All of them are thrifted and tell their own story.
The second kit I ordered made for brighter yellow candles. I honestly prefer the softer more natural look, but these are still stunning nonetheless. The wax itself with this kit was thicker than the previous ones which meant sturdier candles. However the sheets were not as tall - about a few inches shorter than the first ones I rolled - which meant shorter tapers. There seemed to be more wick with this set, so no extra was needed.
If you look at the photos above, you can see how easily they are made. Literally, all you do is just fold the edge over the wick and roll. Then, trim your wick and cut the beeswax sheets with a sharp knife. Repeat. That is it! The girls loved helping me, and were so proud of the candles they rolled. We talked about "the olden days" and how this was the only way to have light prior to electricity. We also talked about beeswax, how it is formed and harvested, and made into the product before us. So, this activity also allows for MANY teachable moments! I found both kits were lovely and very cost effective, in my opinion. All rolled well and have burned beautifully. The kits were slightly different when it got down to the details, depending on what you prefer and how you are wanting your candles to look. Oh, and each kit made around fifteen or so candles, which were all rolled at different widths. One can always roll a giant candle and cut it in half to make a short but wide candle for more burning hours as well. That would be nice too.
Wrap them in a bit of tissue and secure with some kitchen twine. Attach a tag. Add a sprig of dried flowers, and you have a lovely, thoughtful, handmade gift that will bless the home of your loved ones!
(*For those curious, this is not a sponsored post, merely a helpful tutorial for holiday crafting and making your home more cozy during winter time.)