Tins of Light from Door County Candle Company

The New York Times reported last week that generators rattled and roared across Kiev, Ukraine, where officials estimated about half the city’s population of 3 million remained without electricity following Russian missile strikes on power facilities and critical infrastructure. 

Surrounding the Ukrainian capital in the Kiev region – which does not include the capital and had a population of about 1.8 million before the war – about half the population was without power, as of a Dec. 6 report from Reuters.

The idea that people were plunged into freezing darkness – Ukraine’s winter is similar to Madison, Wisconsin’s – created more urgency for a new initiative designed by Door County Candle Company. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Carlsville company has been donating 100% of the profits on its Ukraine candles to Razom, a Ukrainian nonprofit organization. To date, the company has hand-poured and delivered some 85,000 Ukraine candles this year and donated $800,000 for humanitarian war relief and recovery. Profits from the company’s red and white Thank You Poland candle are also now going to Razom.

An evolution of the company’s effort began the day after Thanksgiving: buy a Ukraine candle, and Door County Candle Company will send a tin candle to Ukraine. Or, buy a Ukraine tin candle and it will be sent to Ukraine. 

“We wanted this option in case people didn’t want a Ukraine candle but wanted a candle to get to Ukraine,” said Christiana Trapani – née Gorchynsky – a second-generation American Ukrainian who owns the company.

Nic and Christiana Trapani. File photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

Christiana’s husband, Nic, came up with the idea for the candle tins a few months ago while the couple was in New York City for a charity event.

“We were meeting with some Razom board members at a Ukrainian restaurant and got to talking,” Christiana said. “They expressed that there is a paraffin wax shortage in Europe, and that with winter coming, candles are needed. Nic had the idea: why don’t we make these candles and send them over? We decided it was something we had to do to help.”

They had never made candles in tins before, so it took them about two months to perfect the formula that holds the same warm, vanilla fragrance as used in the Ukraine candle. People can also write notes in the “gift message” section when ordering online at and those will be handwritten on the tins.

“We felt it was important for people in Ukraine to know so many of us are thinking of them and have words of love and encouragement for them,” Christiana. 

Though they ordered the tins weeks ago, supply-chain shortages delayed the shipment until last week. They’re hoping to get the first shipment of candle tins off to Razom this week.

Christiana said they’ve taken over 2,000 orders for the tin candles so far and have placed another order for 4,000 more. She’s hoping to send thousands to her ancestral country, where several of her relatives still live. 

“Ten thousand-plus would be great,” she said.

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