The Safe Candle Guide

We love and adore candles.  (NEOM, Roja Dove and Cire Trudon are particular favourites.) But as we enter peak candle season, we do have a serious word to say about them.

Really do follow all the Health & Safety advice about using candles in the home.  And notwithstanding this wonderfully nostalgic photo, we would advise keeping candles well away from Christmas trees:  the combination of fire and highly-combustible pine oil is potentially (as Craig Revel Horwood would say) 'a dis-aaah-ster, darlings'.

We can almost hear you yawning ‘yada-yada-yada-, but Jo was once in a fire started by a votive in a spa (emerging unscathed, happily), and we have no less than three friends who’ve started minor fires in their homes with scented candles.

So without wanting to sound like the Grinches That Stole Christmas, do remember this advice from the Fire Services...

•  Never leave a candle unattended, and remember always to extinguish before you go to sleep.

Place candles on a heat-resistant surface.  Nightlights and tealights can melt plastic (and that includes the top of the TV and the side of some bathtubs).

  Keep candles out of draughts or blowing curtains (a draught can cause ‘flare’, making the flame burn much more dramatically).

  Keep wicks trimmed:  again, if you’ve a long wick, it can ‘flare’.  (We’ve had this happen.)

•  Always leave 10 cm (four inches) between two candles, and never place them under shelves or other surfaces.

  Extinguish candles before they burn into the glass.  (Again, we’ve had glass containers crack and shatter.)

  Consider an extra smoke alarm in the rooms where you burn candles.

  Never use outdoor candles indoors.

To which we would add:  keep them well away from Christmas cards, which have a habit of falling over - and potentially, into a flame.

Lecture over, but we know from experience:  the cautions can't be repeated too often.