Smells like winter: The best holiday candles made in L.A.

Create instant holiday magic with these aromatic winter candles. When you're done, turn the glass container into a planter and offer it as a hostess gift.
Create instant holiday magic with these aromatic winter candles. When you’re done, turn the glass container into a planter.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

How to create a festive winter vibe without the stress (and snow)? Simple: Transform your interiors with the scents of cypress, juniper, pine and sandalwood.

Here we offer seven holiday candles that are all hand-poured by makers in L.A. Some are sweet, others are smoky; all are festive.

Best of all: When the candle is finished, simply reuse the glass container as a planter — we’ll explain — and offer it as an inexpensive, up-cycled hostess gift.


Do you have a favorite holiday candle of your own? Let us know at

 Cupressus botanical candle by Barratt Riley & Co.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Cupressus (Cypress)

From: Barratt Riley & Co

Smells like: Patagonian cypress, fir needles, oakmoss and cedarwood

About the makers: Psychologist Tyler Barratt and beauty guru Christian Fitzgerald Riley have teamed up to create an artisan line of coconut wax candles scented with botanical essential oils. The candles are hand-poured in Los Angeles and include a botanical series, a floral assortment and a farmers market collection. Candles may be applied as a body moisturizer, massage oil or fragrance and come packaged in a muslin bag and box for gift-giving.

Info: $52,

Spruce soy candle by P.F. Candle Co.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)



From: P.F. Candle Co

Smells like: Blue spruce, cedarwood and citrus

About the makers: Kristen Pumphrey and Thomas Neuberger started P.F. Candle Co as an Etsy shop in 2008. They found success by working events like the Renegade Craft Fair and recently opened bricks-and-mortar stores in Echo Park and Culver City. “Having physical retail locations gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers like we did in our craft fair days,” Pumphrey said. “With our Culver City shop, we also have a space where we can host workshops and events, which celebrates our DIY roots and allows people to come experience scent in person.” Amber & Moss, a year-round candle featuring sage, moss and lavender, is another great forest scent for the holidays. (Britt Rose will lead wreath-making workshops at noon Dec. 14 at the Echo Park store and Dec. 15 at the Culver City location. $50).

Info: $20,

Mistletoe 17 in a reclaimed wine bottle from Stone Candles
Mistletoe 17 in a reclaimed wine bottle from Stone Candles.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Mistletoe reclaimed wine bottle candles

From: Stone Candles

Smells like: White mountain aurora pine and melon

About the makers: Michael and Daniel Wainer’s candle bar in Santa Monica offers natural, hand-crafted coconut wax-blend candles and candle-making workshops. “We wanted Mistletoe to smell like morning mountain dew in the forest,” said Daniel. Return with the reclaimed wine bottle holder — or any container — and you can refill it with the scented wax of your choice, $15 minimum. The father-and-son company has also partnered with Exceptional Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to creating opportunities for people with disabilities, in creating Light 4 Life Cause, a private label manufacturing facility in Inglewood.

Info: $25,

Apothenne Los Angeles Emerald Forest
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Emerald Forest

From: Apothenne Los Angeles

Smells like: Blue spruce, rose, patchouli, fir and sandalwood

About the maker: Jacqueline Bradley named her independent candle company using the words “apothecary” and “doyenne” to honor powerful female makers. The Apothenne Los Angeles candle line is handcrafted with 100% non-GMO soy wax and a blend of essential oils and fragrance oils. Candles are available in three different glass jars including pink, amber and clear and a cylinder gift box.

Info: $32,

Hinoki Fantôme by Boy Smells.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Holiday Hinoki Fantome


From: Boy Smells

Smells like: Resin, hinoki, cardamom, jasmine and moss

About the makers: The Pico Union brand began as an experiment in 2016 when real-life partners Matthew Herman and David Kien created a coconut and beeswax line in their kitchen. The couple went on to create a candle line that was gender fluid by incorporating masculine and feminine scents. “This year we wanted to do something that felt sophisticated,” said Herman of the Hinoki Fantome, Cedar Stack and Ash limited-edition candles. “Our holiday candles are smokier and moodier. We call the Hinoki our apocalyptic holiday candle. Even the wax is a smoky hue. It’s spice-heavy and more about renewal than nostalgia. I’m a big believer that something amazing can be reborn from the ashes this year.” Boy Smells is hosting a pop-up through December at Poketo at Row DTLA featuring their full collection, seasonal scents, new products and free gift wrapping.

Info: $34,

Daniel Stone Fir Balsam by Stone Candles
Daniel Stone Fir Balsam by Stone Candles.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Fir Balsam

From: Daniel Stone Candle

Smells like: Cedar leaf, patchouli, pine fir needle, eucalyptus, cedar and vanilla musk

Info: $45,

Over the Brim by Torch
Over the Brim by Torch.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Over the Brim


Smells like: Juniper, pine, evergreen herbs and balsam fir

About the maker: Claunesha “Cjay” Jones created her handcrafted coconut wax candle line (TORCH is an acronym for Thoughts of Rich Choices and Habits) with “luxury meets eco-friendly” in mind. Her candles are nontoxic and can be used as a lotion or massage oil. TORCH candles are also available at the Atwater and Hollywood farmers markets.

Info: $30,

Empty candle jars can be up-cycled as holiday gifts.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

How to turn your candle holder into an up-cycled planter

When the candle has finished burning, place the glass container upside down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees, so any leftover wax can melt onto the sheet. This works better than the freezer method. Allow container to cool, and clean before filling with soil and succulents. (Because of the lack of drainage holes, low-water plants like succulents work better.) Pilea peperomioides cuttings work well too. You now have a repurposed gift for the plant-loving millennial in your life.