Fill the Holidays with Light and Scents! @Votivo @ColonialCandle@GreenLeafGifts@Caldrea

Any day can be special, when you light up a scented candle. The simple act of lighting a candle, inhaling the scent, and watching the flickering of the flame, is priceless. Candles are a welcome additional to gatherings, and they are great one size fits all, holiday gifts.There are so many candle companies, but four that offer special. holiday-centric candles I truly love, with quality, beauty and value in varying price points, are: Votivo, Caldrea, GreenLeaf candles, and Colonial Candle Company.

I was introduced to GreenLeaf candles, from Greenleaf Gifts at the holiday expo at the New York Hilton, I couldn’t resist suggesting them to you,  Greenleaf’s vision is: ” to create products and fragrances that embody the joy of every season.”  The business began in 1975 with a scented envelope sachet. Today, Greenleaf products are sold in over 90 countries, but each fragrance is still created in-house. For those who love home fragrance but don’t want to actually have lit flames around, there are also diffusers, room sprays, and paper sachets in holidaycentric scents.The graphic labels are very pretty, featuring holly berries for Merry Melodies, and florals and birds for the other scents. Sachet No. 93 is about the size of a packette of soap leaves that you’d carry in your purse, and you could tuck one into a purse or tote to scent it as well. However, the suggestion for this sachet is to tuck one into a wreath. No 6, long and slim, looks like a package of straws. It’s suggested use is in closets, cars, pet areas. The more traditional No. 97 is a generously-sized square. This is the one I put in lingerie or sweater drawers to make clothing smell festive!  My suggested use for all of these is to gather different sizes (in the same scent) with a big, silky ribbon, and tuck it into a stocking or office secret santa bag. Package up a bunch for all those women you want to offer a little “thank you.” Keep them on hand, and you’ll never be without a small “door prize” for unexpected holiday guests.


Alison, I’m going to send you several holiday fragrances from Greenleaf. I’ll be sending our newest introduction Sugar Berry, which is a really sweet confection of red berries, plums and pears on a layer of vanilla, tonka and musk. I’m also going to send Gathering, which is great for fall. Gathering is sweet and spicy with warm vanilla, clove and cassia with sweet pumpkin and ginger nutmeg. I’ll include Merry Memories for a classic holiday recommendation. It features a merry mix of holiday favorites: warm cinnamon, vanilla and clove blended with delightful green sugared pear.   Below is the link to Greenleaf’s online catalog for Fall 2012.   Thanks, Lindsey  There’s a dizzingly great display of home scents (and gifts) on their website, along with a store locator.

For gifting, try one of the 12 oz. candles ($24.00) that look like they cost a lot more. These  are packaged in jars with a shiny, black latticework overlay that reminds me of  the ancient designs I saw in Turkey.  The tops are shiny silver metal, with a decorative knob to which a silky tassel  (in red, brown or purple) is attached, bearing a little cardboard tag with the name of the scent on it. An inner plastic ring inside the caps keeps the scent fresh, for longer.

Of the three holiday fragrances I sampled (there are 6 in total, the others are: Silver Spruce, Snow flowers and Wintercream ), my favorite is Gathering. t’s a modern take on the classic, holiday-centric “spice” candle. Gathering features warm vanilla, clove and cassia with sweet pumpkin and ginger nutmeg. This particular candle is great for Fall through Winter, but unlike the overly sweet “harvest” candles, this one seems to have a more sophisticated spice that almost tickles the nose, but has a sweet element I couldn’t quite place, but to my nose, this candle had a hint of licorice in it. Note:  when I looked on the back of one of the sachets of this scent, the fragrance notes included carrot seed, and cardamom, the latter of which is actually a bit liquorice-y.  Light up holiday parties, or just relax after a long day with this spicy, sexy scent.

Merry Memories with cinnamon, vanilla and clove blended with green sugared pear, is definitely a happy, holiday scent. It smells familiar, but the cinnamon is richer, and the fruit note shines through without being too sweet or obvious. This will make a perfect gift to have on hand for those unexpected gift-giving situations where you’re not quite sure what’s appropriate. Everyone loves a cheerful, holiday fragrance!es,  with it’s bright red tassel and sweet and spicy merry mix of warm cinnamon.




The newest Greenleaf scent is Sugar Berry.  This candle is really a fruity, sweet scent crafted of red berries, plums and pears on a layer of vanilla, tonka and musk. It reminds me of what a bin of penny candy smells like (if you can’t remember back that far to the scent of bins of Double Bubble and Tootsie Rolls, smell a pack of fruit gum to get the idea).  If you have a sweet tooth and love the smell of candy, this scent will make you feel like a kid again!  It will delight the young, and the young at heart (but never leave a lit candle unattended around kids or pets).  The regal purple tassel is a pretty touch.

One of my favorite candle companies is Votivo Votivo(voh-tee-voh): Expressing a vow, wish, or desire.  Since 1994, Votivo has built a reputation for its quality fragrances and distinctive packaging. Each Votivo product is a culmination of care and commitment to detail. Each candle is hand-wrapped and each seal is hand-pressed making each product special. At the heart of every Votivo candle is a unique fragrance meticulously formulated and

layered to reflect depth, richness, and complexity. As one of the very first domesticallymade luxury candle lines, Votivo passionately pursues excellence in the art of candle making.  I fell in love with Votivo’s red currant many years ago at a friend’s house, and I gushed so much about the fragrance, she gave me hers to take home!   Red current is tart, and energizing. Drink in the aroma of red currants and golden fruit glaze ladled over coarsely ground vanilla bean ice cream and served along side of raspberry filled sugar cookies… the original Red Currant.  Votivo has dozens of delicious scented candles, but Red Currant Holiday ($32.00) is the way to share this scent with all your friends and family.  The 8.05 oz. candle burns for 50-60 hours, and the fragrance will last.

All the Votivo candles are beautifully presented ready to give in hard-sided presentation boxes with silver medallions. For the holidays, they’re dressed up in silvery glass.

New for holiday is  Dulce Caramelo,. Translated it means: “sweet caramel.”  I have smelled caramel-centric candles before, and they were cloyingly sweet and artificial, but this one really does smell a bit like toffee or creamy caramel smoothed out and made even more sensual, by smoky cedarwood. Clementine & Clove holiday is also a joyful fragrance that makes you just feel good and eager to enjoy time spent with family and friends during the holidays.  It’s a mix of coarsely chopped clove with fresh cinnamon sticks and dashes of black peppered nutmeg , plus dried Clementine oranges and fresh thyme sprigs. It smells a bit smoky and sexy, but also festive.  I think men will particularly like it, but if you are a fan of incense-y fragrances like I am, you’ll want to light it all the time!  The orange and silver box needs nothing more than a bow and a gift card.

With a name like Icy Blue Pine, you know you’re going to be smelling a pine scent, but some pine smells like room freshener, and others, like chemicals. Votivo’s pine is authentic, bright, crisp and fresh. Let it fill your hjostrils with the frargance of a forest covered in pure white snow! The perfect Winter scent, it’s prickly pine with notes of sweet and spicy stripped cedar bark topped with crumbles of crystallized, ice cubes.  *Votivo holidayfragranced candles are also available in pretty travel tins, for just $12.00. These make amazing stocking stuiffer.Visit to order and to find retailers near you.



As a reviewer, I try to be impartial, but I can’t help admitting that I am  a big fan of Caldrea products.  It’s not just their luxurious cleaning products, although I do love those, it’s the beautifully packaging gift sets.  ForHoliday 2023, there are plenty of lovely things to choose from, but one that I really like is a classic (but by no means ordinary) Limited Edition, Crimson Pear Ginger Candle Trio ($28.00).  Inside a bright red presentation box with a gold label (just add a bow and a gift card) are three 3.5 oz. candles in opulent, goes with everything, gold votives. Tip: trim the wicks to ¼” before lighting (so they don’t smoke or melt too quickly or unevenly), always put candles on a heat resistant surface, and allow the candles to cool before re-lighting them. The candles are luxuriously made of  a vegetable wax base and beeswax, with paper and cotton wicks.  The fragrance is created with essential oils of Spearmint, Clove and Ginger. What I really smell is a fresh, clean scent that would be nice at a dinner party where you want elegance and a hint of scent, but not something that this going to compete with the food.  These gold votives would look great mixed with natural greens and fruits, or with Christmas balls, beads and ribbons.  Fragrance There are 7 other products in this scent including a larger candle,   and you can also get the candle trio in Balsam Fir Plum (Essential Oils of Cypress and Fir) and Vanilla Quince Santal (ssential Oils of Vanilla, Orange and Cardamon).


Colonial Candle is well known for attractive, affordable home scents. For the holidays there are four scents inspired by Morocco, called the Marakkesh collection, exclusive to Colonial Candle: Spice Market, Mint Tea, Mosaic Fountain, and Golden Sahara. There are a number of affordable sizes featuring  premium wax and all cotton wicks,  from a very small glass votive $3.00; 3.5 oz. oval jar $7.50; 8 oz. oval jar $15.00 22 oz. oval jar $25.00. Each of the scents offers a different ambiance. The amber-tinted Golden Sahara is the spiciest, and I think, the most holiday-centric of the four, with an almost smoky/spicy aroma that I think men will particularly like.  Notes of shaved nutmeg, golden cedar, and oak moss.

I’ve never been to a spice market in Marakkesh, but I am guessing that the scent would be sweet rich cinnamon, because I smell red hots in this red candle!  But other notes include rich cassia, clove, and a hint of fennel and patchouli. It’s a spicy, happy, holiday  scent.  The other two scents: Mosaic Fountain (a gorgeous sea green) and lime green mint tea, are much lighter scents that would work well in a bathroom or guest room, Mint tea isn’t very minty, it is a soft, clean green scent that has notes of fresh mint leaves, chamomile, and sweet golden honey. Mosaic Fountain is a soft, feminine floral with notes of white cedarwood, cardamom, and amber inspired by the beauty of Morocco.  The notes listed should be quite spicy and pronounced, but this fragrance just smells like a semi-sweet floral to my nhose. You judge for yourself!

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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