Unto You a Candle is Born

by

12/09/2007

Saks Fifth Avenue, 10022

Neighborhood: Midtown

The candle does not just smell of street-corner pine forests and homemade apple pies; it also smells of tinsel, traffic, and the extra table leaves in place to make room for four, five or–if they really squeeze–six more cousins. Honestly, if you’ve never owned a Slatkin Holiday candle, you’ve never really been home for Christmas.

This time last year, I was standing next to a shelf selling Slatkin candles at Saks Fifth Avenue, doing my best to support myself as a struggling actress. The job was mindless, but I was ecstatic to be making $20 an hour to urge the public to keep their wicks snipped to a quarter of an inch for longer burning time. I was thrilled to provide other Slatkin secrets, like how you could run your finger over the top of the candle and dab the scent behind your ears as cologne. Plus, I wasn’t waiting tables any more.

Harry Slatkin, the self-proclaimed “King of Candles,” is the New York socialite who created this line of must-have luxury candles. Those most fanatical about the line are also socialites, and most know Harry. They would stop by the stand and enlighten me about the party they had just attended with him, and they’d ask me to say hello. I would nod and say “I’ll let him know you stopped by,” as if he were in the back pouring the essential oils. (Slatkin Candles are 100% essential oils. No wax whatsoever is used.)

One aging debutante stopped by to deliver a sermon on the importance of Slatkin candles in a summer cottage. I knew I was being paid to concur. I nodded and smiled for a half hour as she went back to her drinking days in the Hamptons, B.B.–Before Botox. Then she regaled me with her shocking views on why she never tips anymore.

In early November the Holiday Candles arrived. I opened up the velveteen box and inhaled the phenomenon for the first time. It was, and still is, the most incredible scent that has ever been created by human hands. Hail to the true King this holiday season! For on that day when the star anise was blended with pine and mandarin orange rind, whisked together with a cinnamon stick, then cooled with the freshness of a eucalyptus branch, a miracle was born.

If you have no holiday spirit, then buy some.

Saks sold out of the Holiday candle before Thanksgiving. When one particular Lord of Manhattan’s upper crust came to claim his candle and saw that there were none to be found, his own flame was ignited. Panic. A grown man six feet something, accosted me in the store for not ordering enough to meet the demands of a great city (New York City) and now what was he supposed to do for the Holidays? He didn’t want to hear that we expected another shipment after Thanksgiving. His holiday was over–or rather, would never come.

I was selling the hype, and I must admit I did buy into the hype that year. For only $48, minus my 20% discount, my crap hole of an apartment had the air of nobility. Even the mice scurried a little taller.

Shortly after the Holiday candle season was over, and Bamboo & Jasmine returned, well-stocked, as the staple of a clean and happy home–and all was right with the world–I left the candle stand. I didn’t move up, I moved a few feet over. Now I sell make-up at the Laura Mercier counter.

You should try our tinted moisturizer. I am serious when I tell you it completely changed my life.

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