I love candles. The more the merrier. Lit, of course. There is something mystical about a live flame - the flickering, the color range from blue, to white, to yellow, then orange, and the changing length of the flame, depending on the wick and how it burns. Candle watching can be quite mesmerizing and meditative. But what I think I like most about candlelight is the soft and uneven glow it lends to the surrounding space. It adds more depth than the even and flat light of a lamp. "Mom, can I blow the candles out." Before children are allowed to light them they want to blow them out. Poof. Then they graduate to being allowed to light them with adult supervision. Perhaps you remember how special it was when your child was allowed to light a candle for the first time?
Candles are another one of those quality-of-life things that we should use more often. Outdoor candlelight in the summer feels different from indoor candlelight in the winter. Candlelight adds magic to so many different settings. I like to light a candle when I take a bath. It makes me feel pampered. Sometimes I light a candle on my desk when I work, it gives it a special feel, it seems to soften the energy. When I light candles on the table for a birthday breakfast, a celebratory dinner or a dinner party, it not only makes it look festive, it also sends the message "it's special."
Christmastime is a time for red candles - on the tree (yes, we use real candles in special German holders that screw directly into the tree trunk), on our Advent wreath, and throughout the house. A special table setting will look great with colored tapers to match the decor. Most other times I like the elegant glow of off-white candles.
Flickering candles on the picnic table on a hot summer night make the world stop in its tracks. I like the soft glow of candles in weighted paper bags along a walkway, on some rocks in the garden or on a beach. Two summers ago in Italy, when their grandma was not well, the children lit a candle for her in every church we visited. At Halloween tea lights in little and big hollowed-out and carved pumpkins, inside and outside, announce the beginning of the dark season that candles help to brighten so beautifully. I like lots of tea lights placed in clusters or rows. It's like tulips - one looks skimpy, lots make a statement. And no birthday table in our house is complete without that special single lit birthday candle and a bouquet of seasonal flowers.