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Light up your holidays, sustainably.

Posted on December 1, 2017


The December sun is waning as we near the season’s solstice, and it’s the time of year to reflect and spend time with loved ones around the table as we wait for the light to return.  We often light candles around the holidays or in celebration, but did you know that candles, or torches, have been used to illuminate our homes for thousands of years!  


Historically, candles were made out of tallow or whale fat with reeds or other plant material as the wick, until beeswax candles were introduced in the Middle Ages (although the earliest recorded beeswax candle is from the 6th century AD!).  In the 13th century, candlemaking had become a guild craft and candlemakers (called chandlers) traveled from home to home making candles from saved animal fats collected in home kitchens.   At the time, beeswax candles were reserved for used in churches and cathedrals due to their high expense, and over the years candles have been produced from paraffin (a petroleum derivative), soy (from hydrogenated soy plants), and combinations of oils including coconut, almond and palm.  


Nowadays, candles have been surpassed in technology by the incandescent light bulb and LED light, but they remain a classic illuminator to celebrate the holidays and bring a warm feeling to your home.  


Why Choose Beeswax?

Beeswax is naturally and sustainably produced by honeybees. Pure beeswax candles burn brighter and longer than other candles.  They are a natural choice to light as they are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, non-carcinogenic and they don’t irritate people with chemical sensitivities.


Beeswax candles are naturally-scented with the pollen collected by bees when they forage for nectar, creating a relaxing and soothing environment with a warm honey aroma.  It is said that burning beeswax an hour before bed produces better sleep and dreams!



Over time, natural beeswax will develop a whitish film known as “bloom”.  This film indicates that a candle is made of pure beeswax.  Some people prefer this patina as it gives the candle a rustic look. However, it can be easily removed by rubbing the candle or gently heating the wax with a blow dryer.


Burning Tips

In larger candles, maintain the wick by keeping it trimmed to 1 cm.  A flickering flame or ball on the wick is signs that it needs a trim.  Push the edges of the candle into the wax pool periodically.  Never leave a burning candle unattended.  


Our candlemaker, Barletta Beeswax

Barletta Beeswax makes high-quality 100% pure beeswax candles using Manitoba beeswax.  They are available in a variety of shapes, pillars and tapers at The Nature Shop.   We’re open Monday to Friday 9am–5pm and weekends and holidays, 10am -5pm weekends and holidays.  


The Nature Shop

Located in the Alloway Reception Centre at FortWhyte Alive is The Nature Shop.  Stop by this weekend for our annual Holiday Sale where you can find the perfect sustainable gifts for your loved ones this season. The Nature Shop strives to provide a cozy atmosphere, away from the crowded malls, for nature-inspired local gifts. We have local and Canadian made products, stationary, pottery, home décor, sustainably sourced foods, seasonal clothing and jewelry.  When you shop at FortWhyte Alive you contribute to environmental education programs.  See you this weekend!