Did you know scent is the sense most closely linked to memory? I’m just kidding, of course you knew that; it’s one of those “fun facts” that's referenced so often that any “fun” it once had has long since been sucked out. That said, it's nice to think that when I look back on the holiday season of 2019, I’ll always remember the scented candles I bought in bulk at the Michaels on Southeast 82nd Avenue on Black Friday.

What the hell was Blair doing at Michaels on Black Friday, you might be wondering. Or: Is this sponsored content? (And to those I reply, respectively, living my best life and Why, do you work at Michaels?) But surface-level considerations like these do not concern me anymore, because now I live in a home with enough candles for every room, a holiday-scented oasis that envelops me the minute I get home and continues burning after my final waking thought.

I could wax on forever, but I know the reason you, my thousands millions of readers, clicked on this blog: You want those candle reviews. Here they are.

Scented Pine: I put this candle in my living room, which is also where I put my actual Christmas tree. And you know what? I think the tree is leaning on the candle to deliver that Christmas tree scent. I think the tree got cocky—"Oooohhh, I’m a Christmas tree, you chopped me down on Sauvie Island, I’m a fuckin’ star”—and I think it just assumed it could coast on reputation alone. But a generic scented candle from Michaels has no such luxury; it has to work for a living. This candle works its ass off to make my living room smell like Christmas, and the tree is just lucky the candle is around to provide cover. Rating: Four out of five flames.

Frosted Sugar Cookie: I have no illusions about the contents of this candle: It is synthetic to its core, the scent equivalent of a CGI movie, the artificial intelligence version of a sugar cookie. And I fucking love it. It’s better than real sugar cookie smell, because somehow I can smell it and not feel hungry for sugar cookies. Rating: “C” for “Cookie,” and also for “Candle.”

Holiday Eucalyptus: I keep this candle in the bathroom, and each time I pee, I can close my eyes and imagine I’m at a fancy spa, instead of a house that is just minutes away from the Michaels on Southeast 82nd. Rating: 10/10.

Cinnamon Stick and Holiday Spice: I find both of these candles off-putting, but my wife likes them. And while it’s easy to get distracted by discounted scented candles you stumble upon while in line at a big-box craft store, I’d like to go out on a limb and say that the holidays are really about spending time with those you love. Even if that does mean lighting a candle that smells like a spice rack from the 1970s. Rating: Participation trophy.