12.05.2016

the best way to spread christmas cheer is sniffing candles that smell like beer



Four or five years ago, I walked into Bath & Body Works in search of Christmas candles. What I found was a line wrapped around the store and women holding cartons of three-wick candles on sale for $8. And that's how I learned about candle day. The next year, I forgot about this beloved sale but just so happened to walk in on candle day again.

And to think some people don't believe in God or miracles!

We haven't had as many funds available the last few years for seasonal candles, so I burned through my stash, vowing to buy more when I could. I stocked up on a few fall ones in September, but I've been waiting for candle day to buy some Christmas ones. That day was Saturday. As I walked through the parking lot to the store, I passed a woman wearing reindeer leggings and a dazed grin, carrying no less than 20 candles. She looked like she had been put under a spell with a potion of Vanilla Bean Noel and Hot Apple Toddy scented wax with a touch of glitter.

I was handed a shipping container upon entry to hold all my candles. I pushed and squeezed and shimmied my way through the store, looking for certain candles I desperately wanted to sniff. I inhaled so many fragrances that all the smells ran together, and I couldn't actually discern the scent of any of them. The store had to be breaking every health, fire, and safety code imaginable. Like moths to a flame (quite literally), the store was packed beyond capacity. It was, as the kids say, lit. It was like Times Square on New Years Eve, but instead of standing in the cold and snow, it felt like we were stuck in a sauna whilst dressed in winter gear and shoving scented wax up our noses. In both circumstances, Justin Bieber's Christmas music was still heard loud and clear over the crowd. There were people grabbing every candle they could find, stacking containers on top of containers full of candles the same way your average Midwesterner buys milk and bread before a snowstorm hits. There were also the candle aficionados handling the whole event like a wine tasting by taking a whiff of one candle, pondering the aroma and picking apart each individual nuance of the fragrance and comparing it with others, oblivious of the frenzy around them. Then there were the clueless, who stumbled in the store looking puzzled and confused, trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. So young, so naive.

I found all the candles I wanted and some I didn't know I needed and filled my container halfway with my treasures. I settled into the line, which was wrapped around the store twice, with Winter Candy Apple, Peppermint Marshmallow, Winter, Lavender Vanilla, and one free Gingerbread Latte body wash. I contemplated more of my favorite Fresh Balsam and Marshmallow Fireside, but I still had them at home. I was in line behind two grown men, both more excited than I was at the prospect of $8 candles. They compared candles between stories of bar hopping, and the one in front of me said "I got the Limoncello candle because I got hammered on that once." There is a special candle out there for every single one of us.

After that comment, he whipped around and asked me what I got. Before I had a chance to answer, he shoved a candle in my face and said "YOU HAVE TO SMELL THIS." Mahogany and Teakwood. It smelled the way I imagine the offices of the two great Rons (Swanson and Burgundy) would smell like. I sniffed every candle I saw on the long journey to the register that--wait for it--waxed on and on, and I moved as carefully as possible, trying to avoid the fate of another shopper who twirled around and knocked a display of candles on the floor, covering everything in shards of glass. I'm still shocked it wasn't me.

The whole experience was a bit of a sensory overload, and I kept asking myself if candles are important enough to withstand this sort of chaos. When I looked at my receipt and saw that I bought 4 candles for the price of one, the answer was a resounding yes.

My good Christmas luck must've run out at Bath & Body Works, because when James flipped through the stack of Christmas cards I had addressed that afternoon, he said "Do you realize you put the return address labels where the stamps go?" All the fragrances must've gone to my head. I went to light a candle later that night, and our candle lighter chose that moment to run out of juice, which is starting to become a pattern. It just burned me up.

Except not literally, because our candle lighter broke and we're out of matches.

19 comments:

  1. Lol!! Love all of your puns <3 I wish I knew about this sale! I want all of the candles but they are even expensive at Walmart. I always forget about them until after I've spent all of my money.

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    1. By the Christmas decorations near the entrance of Walmart, Better Homes & Gardens has big, $5 candles! I got a cinnamon one recently that I love!

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  2. You are a brave soul to hang in there through candle day at B&BW. I would have run for the hills crying. But I'm glad you got out of there with your favorites, and without being the cause of any major incidents. It sounds like a mostly very good day.

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  3. The two great Rons...LOLZ. I love the way those cologne-ish candles smell but I CANNOT handle burning them. They give me a headache after about 3.2 seconds.

    Time to get James to rub two sticks together so you can get those candles lit!

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  4. I saw candle day and seriously contemplated getting my three-wick on. Then Karl convinced me we have enough candles (we don't, obviously) so I gave up. Our store is right downtown so it's annoying to get to. Then our power went out Sunday morning and I lit a bunch of candles and realized I really don't have enough Christmas scented ones but hearing your harrowing tale made me glad I did go. I hate standing in line, and hate it even more when I'm overheating and pregnant.

    You are a candle hunting hero. Burn with pride, my friend.

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  5. I never knew that candle day existed, so I will be marking my calendar so that come next year, I can be in there sniffing candles with the best of them. Whenever I go into any store that sells candles, I have this compulsion to sniff all the candles in sight, and it's awesome. Candles are the best! A year ago, there was a massive ice storm and power outage in OKC when we got back from Thanksgiving, and while I missed the power, I was so happy to have an excuse to light all the candles. Some mornings, I keep all the lights off and do just that, because candles are the best. Now, I just really wish that someone could invent a lighter that would be like Legolas's bow of endless arrows (from Lord of the Rings-because he never seems to run out, I'm guessing he has special elf magic), but have an endless supply of juice so that it can always light the candles. And matches are so frustrating, and I always seem to break them.

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  6. "It was, as the kids say, lit." Hahahaha. I'm a fan of B&BW candles but I usually find some OK deals at Target, too. And I'm not too particular ;)

    I just love the way you weave stories. It cracks me up every time.

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  7. Winter Candy Apple is my favorite scent EVER. I have two years supply of lotion and body spray JUST IN CASE. But I always end up buying more every winter. I could drink the stuff, I swear.

    Didn't know candle day was thing and I'm going to need to put it on my calendar so I can be prepared next year.

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  8. I'm a big candle fan (even bigger wax warmer fan) but I've never bought any of the Bath & Body Works ones. I feel like I'm missing out. Ha!

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  9. I love the way you tell stories. I always think about the things you share here later.

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  10. I missed candle day this year...I knew it was happening and just FORGOT to buy any. I'm very glad you got yours though, that makes me happy. And also I am obsessed with your wordplay.

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    1. You have little babies at home! If I lived near you, I'd bring you candles AND coffee.

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  11. I just have to say, the words "shipping container" for holding your candles in made me laugh right from the beginning--there's probably a few different meanings for shipping container, so it's very possible you didn't mean this one, but when people say shipping container here, they mean the huge metal boxes that are loaded onto freight ships--they are a common sight here as most construction sites use them as houses for their construction workers. So obviously I imagined one of those gigantic things as a shopping carton for candles and the picture was rather extreme.

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    1. Same here! We have a shipping yard a block from our house and there are always tons of those metal shipping containers (also what we call them) stacked all over the place. Frankly I think filling one of those things with BBW candles would be a dream...

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    2. Lol! A better description would have been "an egg carton, but for candles."

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  12. WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN US ABOUT THIS?! (Thank you for making me laugh out loud three times)

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  13. Oh girl! I just can't do that store. I'm so weird about my candles too. I pretty much like clean cotton or pine and that's it. A lot of those smells just overwhelm me. BUT i'm so glad lots of other people like them and they do have such great deals. And 4 for the price of 1 is worth the crowds.

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  14. Bath and body works and scented candles break me out and cause breathing issues. I can't even go in the store. Poor me? I don't mind.

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