10 best winter and Christmas candles you need in your home this season
Cosy up in the colder months with a warming seasonal fragrance
It’s getting chillier and the nights are drawing in, but you can stave off the winter blues with a cosy home full of softly glowing scented candles.
Plenty of fresh fragrances have been released this festive season, many of which come in beautifully-designed glasses.
We’ve tested a wide range of new and bestselling candles, noting which looked prettiest, smelt best, burned longest and threw its scent furthest.
Our list features a big mix of brands and price points, so you should find something for your budget.
Some scents are more traditionally Christmassy (think cinnamon, chestnut and fig) but the fruity, foresty fragrances will carry you through to the first day of spring.
Many of these candles will make fantastic Christmas presents, too.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Neom perfect peace scented candle: From £32, Neom
It’s always a perk when a candle comes in a gorgeous glass that you simply can’t wait to display. This limited edition release from award-winning natural wellbeing brand Neom ticks that box, casting a glittering golden glow.
Expect to feel noticeably less stressed after sitting and breathing in this uplifting fragrance, made from 25 essential oils. The pine, myrrh and zingy lime peel scent is one of the more original on our round-up – ideal if you’re wanting to steer clear of the ubiquitous cinnamon and orange.
The throw is impressive and the candle burns cleanly thanks to its all-natural ingredients. The one-wick candle offers 35 hours of burn time and the three-wick candle (£46), up to 50. Neom’s packaging deserves a mention too – the cream, floral-patterned box tied with a black ribbon will impress any loved ones lucky enough to find it under the Christmas tree.
Hopscotch x Olivia Rubin x Etsy candle collection sweet cinnamon: £26, Etsy
East London design studio Hopscotch has teamed up with hip British fashion designer Olivia Rubin to scent her first, Etsy-exclusive interiors range. The limited-edition collection of Christmassy candles features three festive fragrances – sweet cinnamon, gingerbread and candy cane – and each jar or tin is decorated with Olivia’s recognisable prints and ombre pastel shades.
Hopscotch’s candles are hand-poured on-site using natural soy wax, cotton wicks and high-quality fragrance oils. Ours arrived beautifully wrapped in pink tissue paper and smelt so strongly that they scented our lounge before even being lit! Our favourite is the large sweet cinnamon (£26), which smells like buttery fudge and should give you 60 hours of burn time. The slightly smaller gingerbread (£16) has a similarly evocative scent and an estimated 31-hour burn time, while the sweet and minty mini candy cane tin (£12) burns for 14 hours and would make a great stocking-filler.
M&J London Bavarian winter candle: From £23, M&J London
This brand is one of our favourite luxury ethical brands, with each candle telling a different personal story. They’re made from creamy renewable soy wax, hand-poured into a recycled glass and popped into an environmentally friendly box. A percentage of every sale goes to a UK-based women’s charity.
But quality is not compromised for doing good. The large candles (£35) burn cleanly for an impressive 60 hours, throwing the scent to every corner of even your biggest rooms. Expect a decent burn time of 30 hours for the smaller size (£23). M&J’s candles look beautiful, too, with a classy gold-winged logo decorating the clear jar. For the run-up to Christmas, our top pick is Bavarian winter, inspired by sipping mulled wine at snowy German Christmas markets. It smells of warm vanilla, cloves and cinnamon, fruitened with zingy blackcurrants. Going into the new year, try the piney, peaty Celtic Fire.
Jonathan Ward hermitage Noel 1878 candle: £45, Jonathan Ward
Candles don’t get much more festive than this homage to the Christmas pudding. Hand-poured using a blend of certified organic waxes, this rich fragrance combines notes of fig, date, bitter clementine and Russian Cognac. Double cotton wicks help this candle burn cleanly for up to 45 hours, leaving no ugly black residue on the glass. The throw met our high standards, reaching every corner of our medium-sized lounge soon after lighting. It looks elegant too, sitting in an old-fashioned whisky tumbler dressed with a copper-embossed label. The stylish gold-foiled box also hides a winter cocktail recipe, which you can serve in the glass once the candle is gone.
The White Company roasted chestnut candle: From £12, The White Company
Chances are you’re already a fan of The White Company’s signature winter candle. If so, you’ll also love new roasted chestnut scent, which mixes sweetly warming vanilla and fire-roasted chestnut on a fresh woody base. The wax is made from the highest quality minerals, which helps release as much scent as possible, and poured into ribbed glasses that could be reused with tea lights. The mini votive offers roughly 18 hours of burn time (£12); the medium, 33 hours (£20); and the large three-wick candle, up to 70 hours (£60). These candles perfumed our space quickly, without being too overpowering, but we wish the smallest size came in a white starry box like the others do, rather than being wrapped in cellophane.
Wax Lyrical 'baby it’s cold outside' multi-wick candle: £40, Wax Lyrical
It was the trendy festive illustrations on the black frosted glass of Cumbrian brand Wax Lyrical’s Christmas collection that drew us in. The "baby it’s cold outside" scent features an adorable reindeer (complete with red Rudolph nose) and smells predominantly of jasmine and amber. The burn time on this multi-wick candle is fantastic at up to 85 hours – just what’s needed for long rainy days. The throw isn’t the biggest on our list but it’ll easily scent smaller rooms.Three other seasonal scents are available - the floral festive treats, the minty winter morning and the cranberry-toned ski lodge. If you want to try them all, there’s a set of four illustrated votives for £25 that would also make a thoughtful gift.
Malin + Goetz leather candle: £42, Malin + Goetz
For a sophisticated scent, try the new Leather from oh-so-trendy New York apothecary, Malin + Goetz. This refined fragrance takes you to a modern Brooklyn apartment on a wintry evening, where you’re enjoying a glass of Merlot on the sofa. Handmade and poured in the Big Apple, this natural wax blend burns slowly with an unpolluted flame for a solid 60 hours. The keynotes we picked up were leather, amber and sensual sandalwood, softened by some delicate florals. The scent diffused around our lounge quickly and is one of the most potent listed here. The deep brown colour of the wax gives this candle an edgy aesthetic, and the clear glass can hold your favourite tipple after use.
Iggy Box candle subscription service: From £12.95 a month, Iggy Box
Choosing candles can be tricky with so much choice, which is why we wanted to include the UK’s first multi-brand candle subscription service, Iggy Box. Every scented candle is made in the UK using fully natural and eco-friendly waxes and oils, so you can enjoy them knowing they aren’t releasing any nasties in your home.
Burn times do vary but are always at least 20 hours for “the little one” (£12.95 a month) and 35 hours for “the bigger one” (£17.95 a month). Candle lovers can choose between floral, fruity or a surprise scent, with plum and ashby’s mulled wine-scented advent candle promised for November. The candles arrive carefully packaged in mint green boxes that also include branded matches, care and use tips and a note about that month’s candle maker. The price of Iggy Box pleasantly surprised us – it’s a bargain at less than £13 a month for an artisan candle. We also like that 10p from every sale goes to mental health charity Mind. Note the gifting subscription service on offer, too, starting at just £38.85 for three deliveries.
Miller Harris cassis en feuille: £45, Miller Harris
Bring your autumnal hunts for woodland fruits indoors with this soothing herby scent, lovingly described as “the rambling vines and bountiful fruit of a forgotten garden” by the brand. Bestselling scent cassis en feuille is bursting with blackcurrant, pear, tomato leaf and geranium. Musk and cedar base notes add depth. It’s made from blended mineral and natural waxes and burns for 40 hours. It comes in a stylish petrol blue holder emblazoned with a dandelion logo that will sit pretty on a bookshelf or bedside table, filling the room with a spa-like fragrance we couldn’t stop sniffing.
Stoneglow juniper berry and cedar fishbowl: £23, Stoneglow
Stoneglow’s candles are among the most visually appealing. The mini candle is nestled in a glass fishbowl featuring dried botanicals embedded in gel. It won’t burn for long – just 15 hours – but can be replaced with refills so you can enjoy the holder for years to come. There are many different scents in this range but our favourite smells of juniper berries, cedar, patchouli, black pepper and nutmeg. It transports us to strolling through the woods after rain, kicking up leaves, before flopping into a comfy armchair by a roaring fire. The throw is powerful, even before its lit. Bigger sizes are available, but those botanicals are encased in the wax, so aren’t reusable.
The verdict: Winter and Christmas candles
Neom’s perfect peace candle takes all our stress away while getting us in the festive spirit with its wintry scent and glimmering packaging. If your budget is smaller, the roasted chestnut votive from The White Company will bring a touch of Christmas into your home. If you're keen to discover new brands, try the fairly priced Iggy Box subscription service.
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