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Buh-Bye, Stress: The Trick to Staying Zen During the Holidays

The holiday hustle-bustle will be a breeze this year. (Photo:

A sad truth about the holidays: I am always busier in December than I am at any other time of the year (except maybe fashion week). With all the parties, get togethers and last minute gift-shopping trips, I can barely find more than a few seconds of “me” time to breathe. That’s why I make the most of the time that I do have by turning my apartment into a mini Zen palace. The secret? A relaxation trifecta of aromatherapy, candle light and soothing music. (If I can’t make it to the spa, darn it, I’ll bring the spa to me.)

But here’s the power-up move I’ve been using that really helps me get the most from precious stolen moments: I share these relaxation tips with friends and family, most especially the guys in my life. (Calm friends = calm me). Since most gents I know—hi, big brother!—find constant holiday socializing even more vertigo-inducing than I do, I’ve noticed that teaching them these tricks means I have one less stressor to worry about. Here are the candles, and appropriate music pairings, that I’m using this holiday season to soothe wrecked nerves and melt away stress: 

1. Annick Goutal’s Petite Chérie: I grab this bright fruity-floral option when I’m in need of some confidence, whether I’m seeing an old crush or just need some energy to power through a project. The fresh cut grass, peach, and pear notes immediately perk me up and make me feel my most lovely. The base scent of the candle is Annick Goutal’s Petite Cherie fragrance, created for the fragrance designer’s daughter to embody purity and boldness.

Pair it with: A bright, slightly nostalgic song like POGO’s totally amazing Bloom. (It’s a re-mix of various chords and vocals from Disney movies.)

2. Illume Starlet Candle: This is the perfect candle to light if you want to create an après-ski vibe in your living room. A warm mix of cedarwood, smoke accords and vanilla conjures memories of drinking hot cocoa by a fireplace, with snow-covered pine trees just outside my window. [Note: this is a super man-friendly option because of its musky notes].

Pair it WIth: The sultry, warm vocals of Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight.

3. Atelier Cologne Candle in Rose Anonyme: When the stress is really overwhelming, this is my mini-staycation pick. The smoky mix of bergamot, ginger and rose reminds me of scenic train rides through Eastern Europe and makes me feel like a more adventurous version of myself.

Pair it With: Airy, jazz-inspired tunes like Yachts by Coco Steel & Love Bomb.


I’m also coveting these Oscar de la Renta candles. You can grab them when you purchase a full-size Oscar product in our Shop!

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