Light the Candles


“Give me a match, Charles, please,” Ma said. She lighted the taper tip of the button lamp.
A tiny flame flickered and grew stronger.  It burned steadily,
melting the axle grease and drawing it up through the cloth into itself, keeping itself alight by burning.
The little flame was like the flame of a candle in the dark. 
“You’re a wonder, Caroline,” said Pa.
“It’s only a little light, but it makes all the difference.”
– The Long Winter




It all started with the science of a flame – and a dark wintry night in December.

The children and I were awaiting the return of the the Man of the House from work – it was a cold, dark dreary night. We lived in Ontario then; and often had to wait long nights until daddy’s headlights appeared in our driveway, giving us relief and joy upon his return after a long day at work. We had been reading through Micheal Faraday’s “The Chemical History of a Candle” and it had left us with a great curiosity of the beauty of a simple and humble candle flame.

“Let’s light some candles on the table for daddy,” I had told the children.

The older girls dashed about and hurriedly lit a tapered candle for our table setting. Instantly, the table took on a warm, cozy glow.

How lovely it looked, I thought, as I admired our simple but somehow elegant country affair. The meal itself was nothing fancy – shepherd’s pie with some homemade crusty bread — but the candle managed to dress up our lovely little table, creating an atmosphere of absolutely coziness.

From then on, we have always lit a candle at our dinner tables. Sometimes, in the dark wintry mornings, when the break of day can still mean inky darkness, a candle is lit at the breakfast table. But mostly, our supper table is decorated with the soft and warming glow of a candle or oil lantern. It has become a tradition for our family. Even with the change of seasons and the night staying brighter a little bit longer, we will still light a small candle.


{Candles on the sideboard in the dining room, lit during the supper time}

“Ring the bell and light the candles,” is the creed around here for “Supper’s ready!”

{Ringing a dinner bell is another tradition we have – thanks to a friend who never called for her children, but only rang the sweetest little bell to call them from upstairs or downstairs. We have used a bell ever since I heard her darling little call. It’s so much more charming than hollering through your hallways. Thank you, Laura, for the idea.}


{I love lighting the oil lantern at the table, as well!}


Recently, my mother sent me an article in an email about a family that lights candles at their dinner table every night. “You’ve been doing this for years, Gillian,” she said. I never thought of it being a trend, just something I loved to do for our family.


I have read that pretty things, arranged with love and kindness, is a mother’s way of showing tenderness and goodness. Having our overcrowded  but blessed dinner table, complete with a dozen or more people seated around it’s perimeter, lit with the gentle glow of a candle, may leave a lasting impression on my children – a time of family, chatter, good food, candle lit dinners, a time of family all being together. We do not light the candles out of formality but out of tradition. And out of love. An unlit supper table is a dismal affair; it feels lonely to me and without that extra touch of affection and care.

So, tonight, whether serving a simple meal of spaghetti or a well spread out feast with company, enjoy your family — and light the candles at your dinner table.


“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”


P.S. If you are nervous to light a candle with little ones at the table (and for that, I say do not be nervous but try it instead), I have found these battery candles to be absolutely wonderful. They look so real that many of my family have gone over to blow out the candles after supper to realize …. they are operated by batteries!


March 11, 2024 - 4:37 pm

Gigi Hahaha, yes, I love that movie!

March 11, 2024 - 1:42 pm

Monica I thought of the “Seven Brides” movie where Millie comes in and cooks a meal and the boys are wild at the table and shoving the food in. Haha! That can be us some days (well, not quite! Ha!)… definitely important though to gather and enjoy each other. I will be on the lookout at the thrift stores
For a little candelabra. 🙂

March 11, 2024 - 11:15 am

Gigi There’s nothing that I love more than to gather my family around a dinner table! Yes, it can be noisy but I know these days are precious! I only hope my table becomes MORE full in the years to come. xo I love that you have a bell, Monica!

March 11, 2024 - 9:05 am

Monica Funny, I had just found those exact candles on Amazon after looking for some to go on my porch. 🙂 I love all of your tablescapes and settings—very cozy indeed. We do not light candles, but I do ring a bell. It’s a pretty loud bell though, usually I have children far and wide—in the woods even. Ha! I might give lighting candles a try though—I do feel like our times around the table are so hurried and thrown together. I wonder if anyone else feels this way? Not ideal, but it’s true.
Beautiful post!

March 11, 2024 - 5:14 am

Gigi Sorry about that, yes, I’m sure there is an American source!

March 10, 2024 - 11:29 pm

Regina Shea I clicked on the Amazon link and then I realized it was the Canadian link. I hope the candles are a good price for the USA.

March 10, 2024 - 11:19 pm

Regina Shea I’ve recently started having eithera tea light candle or battery powered reality during my devotion time. I admit when I would see YouTube content creators doing this I thought it was silly. And I have friends who would light candles so I thought to myself why not give it a shot.I lovebit! It adds such a nice little touch to my quiet time with God. I do the same when I’m reading a good book. I might invest in some battery operated tapers.