To light, hold your match to the side of the wick, not on top.

To extinguish, hold up your forefinger and blow against it. The air will go around your finger, and the wick will be extinguished.

Keep the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch. A too-long wick can be difficult to ignite. It can also bend down and cause a slender candle to drip or a fat one to burn unevenly.

Burn candles in a holder, saucer or other container for the sake of your furniture and safety.

Use spiked holders for large, chunky candles. To avoid cracking, hammer a heated nail into the candle before putting it on the spike.

To remove wax from holders, run them under very hot water.

Invest in a few bobeches ($1 or so each) to protect the heirloom damask on your dinner table.

To remove wax from tablecloths, scrape off dry wax with the back of a knife.

Avoid drafts. They can cause slender candles to drip, and they can damage the outer shell of larger, decorative types.

If you can't avoid drafts, rotate the candle about 1/4 turn; turn every 15 minutes the first time you burn it.

Don't burn candles in front of a mirror unless you want them to burn faster and, possibly, to drip.

Don't drop matches into a burning candle. You'll get uneven burning and possible dripping.

Clean off excess wax as the candle burns or between uses. Dirty wax does not burn properly.

Put votives everywhere, including the bathroom. They cut down cigarette smoke and undesirable odors, even if they are unscented.

Use votives as refills in decorator candles.

Prevent a broken votive glass by placing 1/8 inch of water in the bottom before you burn the candle. This also makes cleaning easier.

Remove old wick clips from votive candleholders; otherwise you might break the glass.

Put used votive cups in the freezer for about 20 minutes; leftover wax will fall out easily.

When you find the perfect candle, buy it by the box. Prices are better and colors consistent.

Store candles in a cool dark place. Lay flat to prevent warping. Wrap scented candles in aluminum foil.

Buy for next year at after-season sales. Candles keep well, and prices are going nowhere but up.