I’m obsessed with candles (both buying them and making them) and that goes double for seasonally appropriate ones. While the best Christmas candles are certainly subjective, I’ve searched far and wide for holiday-themed scents in gorgeous containers, and I’ve found a few definitive winners. No matter the season, however, the best candles will feature the right type of wax for your needs, a long burn time, a balanced fragrance, a strong throw, and a vessel you’ll love looking at.
What To Look For In The Best Holiday Candles
Wax: For my own candles, I use soy wax because it burns cleaner and longer than paraffin. However, paraffin wax (or mineral wax) is inexpensive and can hold a higher amount of color and scent, which is why many commercial candle brands use it. Some candles are also made out of beeswax or coconut wax, while others contain a blend. Ultimately, the right wax depends on you, so I’ve included a range of options below.
Burn time: The burn time is how many hours you can light the candle before it’s spent. While it’s impacted by the type of wax and the style of wick, the largest correlating factor is the size. Candle sizes are most often measured in ounces (oz) of wax. Typically, the more ounces a candle has, the longer the burn time.
Fragrance: While online candle shopping may mean lower prices, a wider selection, and no lines, you won’t be able to test your scents out beforehand. That’s why detailed scent descriptions are important, and if it’s broken down into top notes, middle notes, and base notes, even better. Reviewer feedback is also helpful here.
Throw: A candle’s throw is how far the scent travels and how strong it is. Most people are looking for robust, noticeable aromas — but those with sensitive noses or smaller spaces may prefer weaker throws — and since this isn’t a measurable quality, brands won’t disclose any information about it. For that reason, you’ll need to look to the reviews section.
Container: Candle containers can be all different shapes, sizes, and materials. While the vessel will impact the overall look and style, you’ll also want to make sure it’s safe. Glass, tin, and ceramic are usually your best options.
1. The Best Christmas Tree Scent
What’s great about it: This Thymes Pine Needle Frasier Fir candle has an overall 4.7-star rating after thousands of reviewers have weighed in. They have called it “delightful,” their “all-time favorite scent,” and “the best candle ever.” In other words, if you’re looking for a classic Christmas tree fragrance that’s bold, elegant, but not overwhelming, this one’s it. While the wax is made from paraffin, it’s cruelty-free and skips the parabens. Finally, the glass container features a chic pine needle design.
Where it falls short: It’s small for the price.
One reviewer wrote: “This candle is wonderful. It smells just like a Christmas tree. I buy several each year and they make a perfect hostess gift or gift. You will not regret buying this candle. When the candle is completely burned the container makes a nice Christmas or Winter votive.”
Wax: high-quality paraffin | Burn time: up to 45 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: Siberian fir needles, cedarwood, sandalwood
2. The Best Fireside Scent
What’s great about it: If you love the smell of a wintery fireplace, this candle is for you. The ILLUME Noble Holiday Woodfire scent has a subtle but “cozy campfire smell,” and another reviewer noted the “serene and comforting” myrrh and incense base notes that give it an elegant holiday feel. The tin container is gilded with a brass color and has a gorgeous, watercolor-style label. (Other available scents include Balsam & Cedar, Winter White, and North Sky.)
Where it falls short: It doesn’t have the strongest throw. Also, the tin container dents easily.
One reviewer wrote: “Smells amazing! It was as if I had an actual fireplace!”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 50 hours | Container material: tin | Fragrance description: cedarwood, patchouli, vanilla
3. The Fan-Favorite Brand
What’s great about it: Yankee Candle is one of the most popular brands in the candle business because its candles feature consistent, long burns, natural fiber wicks, and powerful throws in plenty of design options, and the Balsam & Cedar candle is no exception. It’s a forest-inspired but slightly fruity scent that fills a large space in order to set a festive mood. You can get it in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and wick designs, not to mention ample other holiday scents like Christmas Cookie, Frosty Gingerbread, and Candy Cane Lane. No wonder it has more than 60,000 reviews.
Where it falls short: If you’re sensitive to scents, skip this one.
One reviewer wrote: “This Yankee candle is our Christmas favorite because of its natural, and not overpowering, balsam and cedar scent. It doesn't smell artificial, it's long-lasting, and the color of the wax is a deep, pleasant green. We buy these Yankee candles exclusively for Christmas each year.”
Wax: premium-grade mineral | Burn time: 110 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: balsam, cedar wood, juniper berry
4. The Best Christmas Candle Gift Set
What’s great about it: This Christmas candle gift set includes four cute tin candles in a whimsical box. Needless to say, it’s great for gifting — but if you decide to keep them for yourself, the combined 17.6 ounces of wax (and 120 hours of burn time) make it a great value, too. With each purchase, you get Christmas Cookie, Apple & Cinnamon, Balsam Fir, and Lavender scents, each with its own lead-free cotton wick inside and printed design on the outside.
Where it falls short: The individual tins are pretty small.
One reviewer wrote: “Beautiful candles. I bought this for my wife and she loves them. They are very festive looking. In fact, I plan to buy more before Christmas.”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 30 hours each | Container material: tin | Fragrance description: Christmas Cookie, Apple & Cinnamon, Balsam Fir, Lavender
5. An Editor Favorite That’s Less Expensive Than It Looks
What’s great about it: The Aromatique Cinnamon Cider candle is one of BDG editor Jen Fiegel’s faves. “This one looks and feels a lot pricier than it is,” Fiegel wrote. “The faceted glass is substantial and pretty (especially when lit), and the scent is festive without being too cloyingly sweet. The throw is pretty substantial, too.”
Where it falls short: The brand doesn’t specify what type of wax it uses.
One reviewer wrote: “I was simply looking for an attractive candle that was decently priced that really gave off a nice authentic cinnamon scent (that doesn’t give me a headache!) and this candle is just that. My only concern is how quickly I’m going through it because I burn it all the time!”
Wax: undisclosed | Burn time: up to 45 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: apples, warm cinnamon, rose, tobacco, cherry wood, pears
6. An Elegant 3-Wick Candle From A Cult-Favorite Brand
What’s great about it: Tree-inspired fragrances aren’t for everyone, so if you’re looking for a sweeter holiday scent, opt for NEST’s Holiday candle. As per its name, it evokes a festive mood using notes of pomegranate, mandarin orange, cloves, and cinnamon. In other words, according to reviewers, “It makes [the] whole house smell like Christmas,” and it’s “worth the cost” because of its spicy, fruity throw.
Where it falls short: It’s expensive — but you can cut the price down by opting for a smaller size. The one above is extra-large and has three wicks.
One reviewer wrote: “Such a luxurious purchase. I had a hard time stomaching paying SO MUCH for a candle but this one is so worth it. It makes your house smell like Christmas.”
Wax: food-grade paraffin wax | Burn time: 100 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: pomegranate, mandarin orange, pine, cloves, cinnamon, a hint of vanilla and amber
7. The Best Subtle, Fresh Scent
What’s great about it: I have a few DW Home candles, and I love the fresh scents, the modern containers, and the subtle throw. Reviewers have written that this DW Home Sandalwood Myrrh candle “clears the air” and leaves their home smelling “fresh,” but does so without irritating sensitive noses. The palm wax blend also offers a clean burn.
Where it falls short: It’s not ideal if you like a strong throw.
One reviewer wrote: “This is the ONLY candle I buy scented. The sandalwood is soo soothing to me. This candle last almost the entire month and I recommend it to anyone seeking a calming warm scent that isn't overpowering., if that is you, then this is 100% the candle to have.... like Magic to the senses.”
Wax: palm blend | Burn time: up to 33 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: flowering myrrh, musk-infused oak
8. The Best Wood Wick Candle
What’s great about it: Since it’s owned by Yankee Candle, WoodWick offers strong scents and a powerful throw — but its primary selling point is the thick, wooden wick that makes a cozy crackling sound as it burns. This Garland Trilogy candle lets you experience three of WoodWick’s holiday scents in one: Crimson Berries, Fraser Fir, and White Teak. The hourglass jar is also sleek and shows off the layered colors.
Where it falls short: Wooden wicks can be smokier than cotton ones.
One reviewer wrote: “I love it! Amazing Christmas vibe.”
Wax: soy and paraffin blend | Burn time: up to 45 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: Crimson Berries: winter berries, pine, clove, hints of pear; Fraser Fir: fresh-cut fir, hints of amber; White Teak: balsam branches, sandalwood, teak, hints of moss and cedarwood
9. The Best Vintage-Style Candle
What’s great about it: Vintage Christmas is a trend that’s still going strong, and this LA JOLIE MUSE candle has all of the right features: a festive yet woodsy scent, quality materials like vegan soy wax and lead-free cotton, and a moody, fluted glass jar that you can reuse as a vase later on — especially since it doesn’t have any labels. The textured glass lid helps to keep it dust-free when it’s not in use.
Where it falls short: Some reviewers report wax tunneling, so be sure to let it burn for a few hours during the first use.
One reviewer wrote: “This is an attractive-looking and great-smelling candle. The candle is single-wick and comes in a very nice glass jar. Aesthetically, this candle looks as good as it smells and would make a great gift. The Fraser fir scent is fresh and accurate. The candle burns clean and projects the scent well.”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 80 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: pine needles and fir overlay, amber and musk base |
10. A Christmas Candle That’s Designed For Pet Owners
What’s great about it: If you have a pet (or you’re gifting to someone who does), the One Fur All Pet House candle is the way to go for multiple reasons: For one, its scent is never overwhelming, but is specifically designed to replace unwanted pet odors in the air. For another, the wick is cotton, the wax is soy, and the formula skips the phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde. Finally, the sugar cookie scent is sweet and festive. (If you don’t have pets, but you love the smell of sugar cookies, try this Yankee Christmas Cookie candle instead.)
Where it falls short: Some reviewers have complained about the burn time.
One reviewer wrote: “Smells like a vanilla cookie. I have a cat and a dog and my house does get stinky. I have used other One Fur All candle scents but I think that this is the one scent I like the best.”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 60 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: vanilla sugar cookies
11. These Candles In Stylish Containers
What’s great about it: Bright wax and busy labels can be a bit too kitschy for some. In that case, LA JOLIE MUSE makes a pine-and-birchwood-scented candle that’ll elevate your mantle, tablescape, or entryway. The container is made from glossy ceramic and this particular fragrance has a silvery finish (though other fragrances come in gold and rose gold). Other noteworthy features include a lead-free cotton wick and wax that’s vegan and paraben-free.
Where it falls short: According to some reviewers, it doesn’t have the strongest throw. It also doesn’t include a lid.
One reviewer wrote: “The container is very pretty and has a glam look to it. The box was encased in foam so it was well-protected in transit, and it was in an attractive gift box. I’d happily give it as a gift. I’ve purchased quite a few candles from this brand and have been impressed by all of them.”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 80 hours | Container material: glossy ceramic | Fragrance description: birchwood, pine balsam, fruity bergamot mandarin, floral jasmine, muguet, rose, musk, vetiver, caramel, patchouli
12. A Festive Candle Made With Sustainability In Mind
What’s great about it: For sensitive noses and eco-friendly consumers, Santa's Naturals candles are some of the most thoughtfully created candles around. They start with a sustainable soy and beeswax blend which is scented with plant-based essential oils and quality fragrances. It’s then poured around a cotton-core wick to create a candle that’s clean-burning as well as free from parabens, phthalates, and petroleum. (Other available scents include Fraser Fir, Snowfall, and Christmas Mix.)
Where it falls short: These tins are on the smaller side, and they’re the only available sizes.
One reviewer wrote: “Didn’t have a tree this year, just lots of decorations. The scent from this candle was a wonderful substitution for the live tree that I missed this season. Burned clean and smelled great!”
Wax: soy and beeswax blend | Burn time: 30 hours | Container material: tin | Fragrance description: Cinnamon, spice, notes of citrus and berries
13. The Best Hot Chocolate Candle
What’s great about it: Sometimes, you just want your candle to be fun. Our Own Candle’s Hot Chocolate candle is cozy, sweet, and cute thanks to its sweet, rich scent and retro-inspired Imperial Cocoa label by Linda Spivey. It also burns for a super long time (up to 100 hours!), which is particularly impressive given the affordable price tag.
Where it falls short: The fragrance description is lacking in detail.
One reviewer wrote: “The scent of this one is amazing! It smells just like a cup of hot cocoa and after about 5 minutes of lighting it, it filled my entire home with a rich chocolate aroma. It's perfect! I can't wait to try the other scents from this new collection. This is definitely a five-star candle.”
Wax: soy and paraffin blend | Burn time: up to 100 hours | Container material: tin | Fragrance description: hot cocoa
14. The Candle In A Christmas Tree Container
What’s great about it: Few candles steal the show the way that the ILLUME Noble Holiday Mercury Glass candle does. In terms of scents, you can opt for Balsam & Cedar or Winter White, and both come in a metallic, Christmas-tree-shaped vessel (in silver or gold) that doubles as a centerpiece. When it’s time to light the candle, the top comes off to reveal soy wax and a lead-free wick.
Where it falls short: The actual candle is pretty small, so the burn time is a bit short for the price.
One reviewer wrote: “Elegant and functional. I love this candle — the scent the look! It’s perfect! I love that it doubles as just a nice accent piece when it’s not in use.”
Wax: soy | Burn time: up to 28 hours | Container material: glass | Fragrance description: evergreen, frosted cypress, white peppercorn, cardamom, notes of citrus and amber