First things first – keep Strike Anywhere Matches away from children! They are fun to play with, but they are not a toy. Only adults should be able to reach them.
Now that’s out of the way, back to how great they are. Safety matches, either wood in tiny boxes from restaurants or paper matchbooks, can be hard to light. After the first try or two, the stuff wears off the end or the striker, or or you push too hard and snap its little head off. Or even worse, it lights when you least expect it and there’s 1100° of fire an inch or so from your fingers – how quickly can you move it over to the candle and get the wick to light?
Strike anywhere matches are longer, sturdier and almost always light on the first try. That first try can be on any rough surface (even on the sides of the box!) and only requires one hand. You could be already holding the candle in your other hand for maximum efficiency.
In old movies, you see matches lit on shoe soles, zippers, with the nail of one finger or even on teeth. Obviously, there may be unnecessary risks in using any of those surfaces, and there is always a better rough surface available, especially outdoors. Strike anywhere matches are great for fireplaces, campfires and barbecues. We use ours most often for lighting candles in the bathroom. No lesser authority than the Mythbusters have confirmed that just striking one reduces by 50% the dreaded odor of methyl mercaptan, and that’s even before they have been used to light the scented candle of your choice.
They are getting harder to find, and you can’t take them on planes, but if you see a box in your local hardware store, pick it up and give it a try.