The Candleholder Warning Label

My mind has, on occasion, been known to wander.

One such occasion was in a recent meeting when my eye, eager for some sort of distraction, was caught by an empty candleholder. Unremarkable in and of itself, its main attraction was the astonishingly detailed warning label found inside it.

I felt it important to share with you the highlights of this particular precautionary promulgation.

Remove all packaging labels and any candle wrappings before lighting

Stating the obvious somewhat, but you can never be too safe I guess.

Place holder in a safe, level position, away from flammable materials, heat and draughts

A bit pernickety, but sensible nonetheless. No complaints here.

Keep wick trimmed to 1cm

I cannot stress how important this is. If you have a friend that regularly measures and trims their candle wicks to ensure that they never breach the 1cm height limit, then you need to stage an intervention as a matter of urgency. In fact, it’s probably too late for that. Professional medical assistance should be sought.

Keep wax pool free from foreign objects

Only good British objects please.

Place candles at least 10cm apart and ensure there is ample room above flame to burn safely

I would posit that if you are the sort of person that measures the distance between your candles and the heights of their wicks then ‘ample room’ is not going to be nearly specific enough and will probably cause a mental breakdown. Warning label writers: be consistent in your completely unreasonable recommendations!

Never blow candles out


Always extinguish with a candle snuffer or the back of a metal spoon

Wow. Who knew?

Never leave burning candles unattended or move when lit

For as long as the candle burns it must have your fullest attention. Do not let your eyes turn to the left or to the right. Only once you have finished enjoying your candle’s gentle, flickering flame may you reach for your candle-snuffing metal spoon (without diverting your gaze of course, lest the flame transform into a towering inferno that engulfs your perfectly proportioned living room in the short moments that your guard is dropped) and carefully but firmly extinguish its light. Then, and only then, can you move on to checking the distance between the sofa and the table, and ensuring the television is at the optimum angle to minimise glare.

Take care not to allow molten wax to come in contact with skin

Yes, I keep my candle wick trimmed to 1cm religiously, but it did not occur to me that lathering my skin in molten wax would not be a good idea.

Always keep away from children and pets

This is sound advice. As far as possible, I avoid contact with children and pets at all times.


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