A Sweet Guide to Yuletide – A History of Christmas Candy, Part I

Part 1:  Ho Ho Historic

In a time when artificial trumps evergreen and sleigh bells rarely come attached to horses, it’s reassuring to know that the spirit of Christmas lives on in the hankering of the sweet tooth. There’s nothing quite like the taste of Christmas candy—the swirls, the stripes, the soft creamy centers—to bring us back to that magical season of our childhood. In honor of the holidays, we’ve rounded up a list our favorite candy of all time. From the nostalgic to the surprising, get ready to indulge some sweet seasonal cravings.

The Christmas staple Candy Cane - a classic, but perhaps not the best Christmas Candy

The Christmas staple Candy Cane – a classic, but perhaps not the best Christmas Candy

The Historic

The CANDY CANEis one of the most iconic Christmas images, but you may be surprised to learn this innocent peppermint stick got its start as “hush-up” candy. Legend has it that candy canes were first

commissioned by an irritable 17th century choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, and distributed to quiet down rowdy children during lengthy sermons. Some speculate that the choirmaster ordered his confectioner to give the candy a bit more of a devotional bent, so he crooked the tops of the peppermint stalks to resemble the staffs carried by shepherds in the Nativity pageant.

Children today aren’t the first to count down the days until Christmas. 19th Century German Lutherans are credited for starting the ADVENT CALENDAR tradition. Their ‘countdown’ methods were quite simple; a chalk mark on a door or a lit candle were enough to mark the progression of days. The first actual printed calendars appeared after the turn of the century, many with a series of twenty-four small cardboard doors which opened to reveal Bible verses. During World War II, printed Advent calendars went out of production—quite likely the victim of paper rationing. The world would have to wait until peacetime for the tradition to be taken up again, this time with a sweet twist. In 1958 chocolate Advent calendars appeared and quickly became the favorite way to countdown to the holidays.

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