Tuesday, January 30, 2007

This Week: Swedes and Their Candles


I am sure you have all noticed the amount of candles a normal Swedish person owns! Or normal and normal. Who says it is normal?
All the Swedes that I know have an enormous amount of candles in their homes, and yes, they use them, too. You bet.

In my own house I think I have about 120 sources of beautiful candle lights. No, I am not kidding. When my Mom came to visit she counted to 95 candles, on the mail level. That’s right! 95 candles. And, yes--How many rooms do I have on my main level again? Oh, let me see…
A kitchen, a living-room and a powder-room (WC for the Euros that read this blog), and a hall-way. Not an enormous level by any means, but yet it hosts 95 candles.
It does sound excessive, I hear that. But, there is something so darn cozy in letting the candles burn on a regular winter night, or spring night or…or…well, you get the picture. A candle will work for you anytime, night or day.
It creates an instant coziness factor, and who doesn’t want a cozy house?

Every time a Swedish gal (or guy????) goes shopping she cannot help herself, she just HAS to look at candle holders. Maybe Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Pier 7, West Elm , Z Galleries or IKEA have any new cool looking candle holders this time? Perhaps she will buy another one. Add to the 120 she already owns? Maybe?

The most popular candle among us Swedes is the so called “tea lights” (värmeljus). We love them! When we go to IKEA to do some of our mandatory shopping we’ll always pick up at least two packages of “tea lights”, 100 in every package. How long do you think that’ll last us? Lemme tell ya’! Not that long, maybe a month if you have candles going every night.
CANDLE FREAKS!!! Yup, that’s us!


Over the Christmas holiday it was a shortage on “tea lights” over at most IKEA stores in Sweden. My friends in Sweden were complaining over this:
“Gosh, we just cannot find the super cheap candles at IKEA this Christmas, what are we going to do?”
In the meantime you could find them left and right here in the US. I was sitting on some very valuable goods here. Because, I think the only people that really are buying the tea-lights are fellow Scandinavians, and just face it, there are not that many of us here. Really.

Candles inside, candles outside, candles in the bathrooms and candles in the garden.
When visiting Scandinavia it is always tempting to pick up another candle holder. You just cannot help yourself while browsing around “Designtorget” and other cool stores…”Oh, that’s a cool looking candle holder! Let’s check the price…Oh, 700 SEK…But, but you can use it forever…I’ll buy it”
Yes, one can keep on telling oneself that. Denial, big time.

Then we have scented candles, and that is another different story!
I am a freak about those candles as well. I used to love “Illuminations”, a store in Tysons Corner. That store is closed now, boohoo! Now I just get scented candles at Safeway where I usually shop, but it isn’t quite the same. I am not so crazy about Yankee Candles; if I were I would shop there. So the hunt goes on. Oh, I did buy a really great candle at “Bath and Body Works” before Christmas. It was the scent of gingerbread cookies. So very lovely.
All right, it is cold outside today, I think it is time to lit up a candle.

26 comments:

Sara said...

So it's a Swedish thing...I love candles too but being a tightwad I don't burn as many as often as you do. But I agree 100% that candles make instant coziness. I love them too.
PS Now I know where to replenish my stock of tea-lights if I get low. Not at IKEA....I just need to go next door!

Annika said...

Sara:
You always have a candle burning when I am over at your place. That is so nice!
Yes, girl, you know where to go if you need tea-lights!
I just got back from the oral surgeon...DAMN! Sitting here with a huge hole in my jaw bone. The implant screw is gone, for now. And I am drugged up...NOT fun!

Keith said...

For certain candles create ambience. I don't have 95 tea lights like you, but a couple scented candles in the living room. I usually light them at night. I think they offset electric light perfectly.

Anne-Marie said...

Svenskars "besatthet" av stearinljus måste ha att göra med våra långa, mycket mörka vintrar. Visst är det mörkt även här i USA men inte alls på samma sätt. Min favorit är nog värmeljus.

Anne said...

Haha, det var bra skrivet. Visst är det så, vi är nog riktiga freaks vad gäller ljus i alla former. Jag går också alltid och spanar efter nya modeller, för det är ju så mysigt med ljus och man kan liksom inte ha fööör många ljuslyktor...

Annika said...

Keith:
Candles of all forms, Keith! Tea-candles, tapers, scented candles, block candles..and then some. But tea-candles are probably my favorite.
It is lovely!

Anne-Marie:
Yes, we are obsessed with light, us northerners! For sure. Our short days in the wintertime, and the compact dark that rules Scandinavia 5 month of the year. No wonder we're candle freaks! Tea-lights are my favorites as well!

Anne:
NO, true...we can never have to many candle holders! And the hunt is always on for more. Pathetic...
BUT OH so cozy!!!

Swede-gal said...

So, true! That is Sweden for you! Darkness and candles. Nice and cozy. But now we are SOO ready for spring here at home. We have so much snow, Annika. You cannot believe it!!! You would love it.

Marge_II said...

Dagens sanning: Det kan ALDRIG bli för mycket!

Annika said...

Swede-gal:
Wish I was there...Snow, bring it on!!! Candles, too.

Marge:
TRUE. you can never have too many!!!

Tina said...

Two package.... Annika! We bought 15 packages in December. Okay we gave away five of them to our nice neighbours. I think I’m a real Swede or maybe it’s my Finish (finska) roots and the desire for a real sauna that shows off 

Annika said...

Tina:
15!!! NOW here we have a person from the NORTH talking!!! That's the way to do it, Tina!!!
You go, girl!! Next time I go to IKEA I make damn sure I'll get more than 2 packages, after all that is only 200 tea-lights.
Hey, so we both have roots in Finland...Now I get curious!!!

JaCal said...

Hahaha! "Candle freaks"! Yes - that's right! I just counted... 28 candles in this house (that I hardly actually ever lit (at least between April and November), it kind of contradict the use of the AC... I don't know how many more candle holders I have in the cabinets (and I just found yet another bag of tea lights in one of the cabinets we were cleaning out). And I still miss my "stumpastake" in "gjutjärn" I have at my parents place... it weighs as much as one suitcase... +15C and bright California sun here today - so no candles today... maybe tonight when it's dark...

Tina said...

Kyllä, Soumi. Blev svensk medborgare först -85. Är född i Svergie men mamma och pappa från finland. Mamma från Lehmajoki och finlandsvensk pappa!

Annika said...

Jacal:
Oh yess!!! I know what you're talking about! I love those candleholders! In gjutjärn! They are great!!! But HEAVY!!!
OOO, the candles!!! For us all!
0 degrees C here, they are talking snow. One can only hope!

Tina:
Med en Finlands-Svensk mor, från Närpes, och en pappa fr Blekinge talar jag ingen finska. Varifrån i sv-finland är din pappa?
KUL! Tina, Jätte!!!

malou said...

Norrmän är ännu värre...För några veckor sedan öppnade en ljus- och serviettbutik, och den blev en succe från dag 1. Mitt senaste köp var fem svindyra doftljus - det med vaniljdoft har jag i badrummet. De andra är tills vidare oplacerade. Och ja, du gissade helt rätt, jag är Linns mamma.

Tina said...

Pappa försvann tidigt från mitt liv så jag är inte säker på exakt var men de finlandsvenska trakterna runt Helsingfors tror jag. JAg pratade finsk bra fram till 13 års åldern men idag.... blir jag arg kan jag :-).
Mamma pratade ofta finska med mig! Det finns i blodet. Ser mig själv som en skåning med finlandsvensk blod som bor i Stockholm :-)!

Annika said...

Malou:
Vad trevligt! jag gissade rätt!
Norrmän ännu värre...Hmmm..Ja, jag kan tro det! Vi nordbor...
jag har också doftljus på toan.

Tina:
Wow! Du kan klara dig på finska, ja iallafall när du blir arg då...Och det kan ju vara bra. Ha, ha! Bra med flera språk!
Skåning med finska rötter som bor i Sthlm. Jamen det funkar ju jättebra!!!

Fia said...

Hm, ytterligare en som som måste ställa sig upp i gruppen och säga "Hej, mitt namn är Fia och jag är också en svensk ljusmissbrukare".

Jag gör mina egna ljus med lavendelolja från Provence, huuuur skönt som helst att ha i sovrum och bad rum och kök och..ehum, kom och tänka på det så finns de i vardagsrum och Tvrum oh på våra kontor också....

Jacal, hm, eftersom jag bor i den djupaste södern så har vi det varmt stora delar av året också. Är det inte därför man HAR AC så man kan dra på den lite extra när man tänder ljus när det är varmt?? Det trodde jag....."LOL"

Ett litet gåbortpresenttips...ta riktigt små terrakottakrukor, måla utsidan i någon trevlig pigmentfärg. Skicka med en liten förpckning olja och en bunt med värmeljus och sy en liten sandsäck att lägga i botten på krukan. Instruera den som får gåvan att de ska droppa några få droppar olja på insidan av krukan och sedan tända ett värmeljus. Sprider doften hur bra som helst! Folk som jag har gett dessa till har kommit tillbks och velat köpa fler för att i sin tur ge bort!
Kram,
Fia

Annika said...

Fia:
KUL! En ljusmissbrukare som gör sina ljus själv! That's the way to GO!!!
Kan tänka mig att det doftar gott! OCH att det blir vackert!
Tack för det trevliga gåbortpresent tipset. Låter verkligen bra!
Japp, det är bara att tända ljus nu och njuta!

Matildas fikarum said...

I haven't had candles in my apartment since I moved to Australia. People here just don't get into burning candles, that's something you do in church, they say. And for me, I just stopped wanting to light candles because it's so warm all the time and one doesn't want to add any more heat sources if it can be avoided.

But now that I read about the dark winter nights and lit candles it's all coming back to me! It's so soothing to sit around and talk and have coffee and some lovely candles on the table. Very nice.

mie*, absolut guldkant said...

Jajamen, tända ljus varje kväll här! 14 st i köket, 18 i vardagsrummet o s v även i badrummet (men bara 2) och så förstås på trappan;-)
Hur skulle man annars stå ut här uppe i kalla norden?
Ha det bra o kram!

Annika said...

Matilda:
I am laughing----"that's something you do in church"---sure enough!
No, but of course I can see your point in not using candles. It does create heat, I know that all too well from my parties or dinner gatherings. In the end you are sitting around sweating it out.

Yes, in the cold winter areas it is so nice with candles. So lovely!

Mie:
Ytterligare en ljusmissbrukare ibland oss!
Ja, hur skulle man klara mörkret och vintern utan ljus? Speciellt alla ni därhemma som verkligen har det mörkt och kulet.
Ljus är underbara i alla former!
KRAMAR!!!

Monika said...

HA HA - that generated A LOT of comments :-) I can only say that I agree! You could never have too many candle holders, I could almost certainly "förköpa mig" (go over the top?) here. I LOVE buying new candle holders. But where to put them all?!?! Well, that doesn't really matter, you can always switch them around a little, put some away for a while, take some new ones out... :-) Oh, I feel like buying one right now :-) But I guess I'll just go light some candles in the ones I already have... Maybe that'll make studying more cozy?!?

Annika said...

Monika:
It did! Candles "speak" to a lot of people! You are another "typical Swede". Yes, you are right. You can always buy new candle holders and put the old ones aside for a while.
Me too!!! I feel like buyin a new one as well! Maybe next time I go shopping! Oh, yes, I am sure a lit candle will help you will studying!!!

t & t said...

Jag älskar att tända ljus, har köpt massor av ljusstakar till mitt nya hem i Canada. Familjen har även börjat lära sig att ha dom tända på kvällen.

Det är såååååå kul att åka till IKEA då och då och kolla in om dom har några nya roliga ljus.

Annika said...

T&T:
Välkommen till min blogg! Okay, Canada! Ja då kan nog ljus behövas, eller hur ;-)
Nu ska jag ta mig en titt på din blogg...