The History of the Candy Cane: Origin and Mystery

Most would agree that Halloween is the first holiday that comes to mind when we think of candy being sensationalized. Perhaps Easter is close behind, but Christmas rarely gets associated with candy. Sure, we realize that the children in Christmas storybooks dream of “sugar plums” while gingerbread houses are under construction. Candy still lacks that stapled association with Christmas that Halloween and Easter have, despite one very small, yet significant exception: candy canes. What would the holidays be without those simple yet extremely recognizable red and white treats?

Although the true history of the candy cane has been widely disputed, there is something special about this particular Christmas candy that makes people feel nostalgic. Perhaps it’s the vibrant bright red and pure white dangling from a crispy, dark evergreen tree that stands out? Or maybe it’s that feeling of contention and solidarity experienced as a young child in school, passing out Christmas candy for each fellow classmate.  No matter what feeling may come your way at the thought of candy canes, the mystery as to where they potentially originated still lingers.

The Origin

It’s been proposed that candy canes originated in Germany in the late 1600s. They first came on the scene after a local choirmaster in Cologne asked the local candy maker to develop something long-lasting for the noisy children in order to maintain silence during Christmas mass that evening. Allegedly, this Christmas candy incorporated white in order to remind the children of Jesus’ purity and sinless life while on Earth. He also requested the candy maker create hooked tops for the candies to remind the children of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus on the night he was born.

Other Propositions

It’s also said that a recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The candy cane which has been mentioned in literature since 1866, was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874, and as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees. They were first produced manually, with a factory employee physically bending the sticks to create the “J” shape, with over twenty percent breaking before packaging. It wasn’t until Fr. Gregory Keller invented the Keller Machine that automatically bent and striped the candies.

Although the folklore of the German candy maker has been debunked on several occasions, there is something sweet, simple, and perfectly lovely about this little tale. Whether or not it holds any authenticity, a little holiday history of a universally enjoyed Christmas candy never hurt anyone.

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Christmas Candy by the Numbers: An Infographic

Did you know…?

Christmas is the 3rd largest candy holiday, preceded by Halloween and Easter.  Tweet this.

American households spend an average amount of $94.04 on holiday candy per year. Tweet this.

Our nation spends $1.4 billion on holiday candy per year. Tweet this.

1.8 billion candy canes are made every year – 196.3 billion calories worth. Tweet this.

Half of the world’s chocolate is consumed in America. Tweet this.

19 million chocolate Santas will be made this Christmas. Tweet this.

On Christmas day, children consume about 6,000 calories of food and candy. Tweet this.

 

(Click to Enlarge)


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America’s Favorite Halloween Candy: An Infographic

Check out the infographic below for insight of America’s favorite Halloween candy by the numbers.

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Tips for Winning Over the Trick or Treaters This Year

Halloween is coming around again and, for many, this holiday is actually somewhat of a trial. What kind of candy should you get? How much should you give each child? Is it safe to leave a plastic cauldron-full on the porch when you are away, or will the first group there take all the sweets? Not all of these questions have definitive answers, but there are best practices that you can follow that will allow you to make the kids happy . . . and hopefully keep them from toilet papering your house next year (a Mischief Night or Devil’s Night tradition in certain areas of the U.S.)!

  1. Order in Bulk – You don’t just want to avoid running out – you’ll want to have extra for everyone (and some for that Halloween party that you’re throwing later). One of the best ways to ensure this is to buy your Halloween candy in bulk. Not only will this keep you stocked up throughout the evening, it will cost you a lot less than you would otherwise spend shopping for last-minute candy at the supermarket.
  2. Make it Sweet – If you want to make the kiddies like you, don’t be that grownup that passes out health bars on Halloween. You may impress the parents, but the kids won’t thank you a bit. After all, to them Halloween is about indulgence in things that their parents don’t let them have very often. Give them what they want and let their parents decide whether they need it.
  3. Include Some Favorites – Always make sure to include a good mix of standard favorites in your candy bowl. At Sweet Services, our bulk candy comes in variety packs that include such favorites as Skittles, Snickers, Milky Ways, Life Savers, and more. With all of those options, kids are bound to find something that they like!
  4. Throw in Some Unique Treats – Many kids get real joy out of looking over their hoards at the end of the night. But they’re not just counting out Twix bars; they’re looking for the stuff that no one else got. By offering kids candy that isn’t one of your major brands, you give them the chance to try something new and have bragging rights. Get the Bloody Bites for some vampire-themed fun or order some Primrose Caramel Apple Kisses for a safe alternative to candy apples.
  5. Let them Take Two – When trying to please the children, more is always better. Let any trick or treaters who show up at your door take at least two treats per person, unless their parents are actually there and say otherwise.
  6. Don’t Forget about Allergies – Make sure that you have some peanut-free candy available for those who have allergies. No one wants to be left out!
  7. Leave Out as Much Candy as You are Willing to Part with – If you are not going to be there on Halloween, but you want to put out a bowl anyway, you are taking a risk. There is always the chance that the first kid there empties the whole bowl into their bag, though most kids will be honest. For your own sake, don’t put out more than you are comfortable risking. Also, leave a note with the bowl asking kids to only take two each. If you want to be funny and/or scare some of the kids into honesty, you could always say that there are cameras watching the bowl and you will know if anyone steals the candy – it might deter some of them.

For those who never feel quite sure how to handle Halloween candy buying, hopefully these tips will help. Always consider the volume of trick or treaters in your area before buying candy so that you don’t under- or over-do it.

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4 Great Uses for Blue Candy

When you think about candy, chances are that pink hearts, brown candy bars, and red Swedish Fish probably jump to mind. Blue candy is probably the last thing that you think about. However, the fact that it’s so different is just what makes blue candy so exciting! Here are four ways you can use blue candy to good effect at parties, holidays, and events:

 

  1. It’s a Boy! – Finding out your family is expanding is a cause for celebration—and not everyone is going to want a cigar (especially the mother-to-be!). It’s easy to think of pink candy options for a girl, but blue candy is just as common and comes in a variety of flavors including raspberry, blueberry, tropical punch, cotton candy, and mint. Blue candy makes a great gift for a couple expecting a boy, and goes naturally with “it’s a boy!” congratulation cards. For a baby shower, an assortment of blue candy makes a great snack to put out for guests or a sweet extra to include in a party favor bag. And after the baby is born, you can bet that mom and dad won’t mind a sugary little pick-me-up during those first hectic weeks. For siblings, blue candy cigars make a nice treat as well.
  2. Patriotic Events – Red white and blue are our nations colors, but flags and fireworks aren’t the only things that come in those special shades. Your next Fourth of July or Veteran’s Day party can be even more unforgettable by adding thematic bowls of red, white, and blue candy. Give out multicolor twist lollipops or put out bowls of color-specific flavored jelly beans and you’ll notice the little looks of delight on your guests’ faces—especially the kids.
  3. Team spirit – Many school teams use blue as one of their colors, and that gives you countless options for team spirit-themed candy. Blue candy is a perfect giveaway for school spirit rallies or for cheerleaders to toss to the crowd during games. It’s also a low-cost, but thematic option that can be used at team fundraising events.
  4. Magical excitementThere’s something magical about blue candy that other colors just don’t have. Maybe it’s because it’s a twist on nature’s own color palette: unlike red cherries and yellow lemons, raspberries aren’t really blue – or maybe it’s just the joy of finding yourself with a blue tongue afterwards. But one way or another, blue candy has been long associated with wonder and delight. Blue is one of the two classic cotton candy colors, evoking the thought of the carnival, and blue rock candy looks like treasure straight from a wizard’s castle.

 

How have you used blue candy?

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Is It Smarter to Buy Candy Wholesale for an Event?

If you are having a party or preparing for Halloween trick-or-treaters, you know the pressure to get your sweets right. After all, you’ll want to impress anyone over at your house with an array of items suited to varying tastes. And who doesn’t want to be the cool people that all the kids flock to for their killer candy selection? While most people simply head to the local grocery store for their candy supplies, many of them have no idea that there is an easier way – shopping wholesale online!

Here are three reasons wholesale candy might be the right choice for you:

Deep discounts on name brands

Everyone has a favorite candy and, for most of us, it’s a specific name brand name. Some people crave M&Ms while others love the classic taste of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Some remember Tootsie Pops as their favorite childhood treat, while others love the fun of Pixy Stix or the way a Baby Ruth tastes as you first dig your teeth into it. One thing that all of these iconic candies have in common is that they are name brands and that retail stores know they can mark up the prices. From something as simple as Hershey’s Kisses to something as wild as Pop Rocks, buying wholesale candy gives you access to the most popular treats at a fraction of what you’d pay in a store.

More variety than ever before

Even at Halloween, your local supermarket may have no more than 25 or 30 different types of candy available. For the rest of the year, the pickings are even slimmer because retail stores concentrate on carrying only the few treats that sell best. But there’s a whole world of other sweets out there that are available from wholesale candy shops online. Did you have a favorite treat in your childhood that you no longer see in stores? You may be surprised to see that it’s still available online. Alternately, maybe you want to shop for creative candy ideas by color, flavor or theme for a special event – or perhaps you just want to explore new candies you’ve never tried before. For all these purposes, wholesale candy is ideal.

Prepare easily and cheaply for a major event

Sometimes you just want a single handful of candy or a treat before bed, but at other times you have a crowd to feed. The most obvious occasions are Halloween, the winter holidays, and Easter, but the truth is that most of us will have to plan or host all kinds of events, from office parties and kids’ birthdays to PTA meetings. All of these occasions are just a little bit nicer when there are bowls of candy out, preferably with plenty to go around and lots of choices. But if you’re buying all that candy from a grocery store, it gets expensive quickly. Buying wholesale candy, on the other hand, saves you money and delivers your treats right to your front door or office.

Do you ever buy wholesale candy?

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Sweet Ways to Incorporate Candy into Your Wedding

Although planning a wedding entails a lot of time and attention, when the special day comes, you realize just how much it was worth it. Undoubtedly, you want your wedding to be the best it can be, not to mention one of the most memorable days of your life.  When it comes to a wedding, there just can never be too much sweetness. Despite a cake being the traditional sweet treat; it may not be enough to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Whether you’re planning an elegant or more casual wedding, you can easily incorporate candy into your special day. We’ve provided ideas and tips below to help you.

Edible Wedding Favors
Show your guests that you have good taste and are grateful for them being a part of your special day with candy wedding favors. You can make candy favor bags or boxes. Top it off with a nicely wrapped bow, a thank you note, and maybe a memento of your event. If you’re feeling really creative, craft a lollipop tree for each guest to take a lollipop when they leave.

Candy Place Cards
When guests arrive to pick up their place card, make a favorable impression with a candy place card. You can place the candy in a bag or box and staple or tape the card on the top or the side. You can even make the candy stand with a candy cane place holder. Simply secure three candy canes together with a ribbon to make easels for place card. This idea is perfect if your wedding color is red and you’re looking for ways to incorporate red candy into your wedding.

Candy Centerpieces
Ditch the traditional flower centerpiece and fill it with sweets. You can create a lollipop or rock candy bouquet or add decorated glass jars fill with your favorite candy.

 

Candy Buffet
Not only can you please everyone’s sweet tooth, but it’s a great way to play on the color scheme of your wedding and be creative. Like a traditional food buffet, use platters and other types of stands to display the candy. Also be sure to have paper lunch bags and take out containers available for guests.

While all of this sounds sweet, try to be cautious of the sensitivity of candies. Be considerate of guests who have dietary concerns. Label dietary candies including candies that are gluten-free, vegan, and sugar free so that guests are aware. Also take into account that some people may not be able to handle sour, spicy cinnamon and other such flavored candies.

Not only are all of these ideas fun but your guests will be talking about your wedding long after your big day has passed!

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Interesting Ways to Enhance Your Wedding Reception Tables

If you are planning a wedding, you already know how much detail should be taken into consideration when it comes to nearly all aspects of the occasion. You might have already decided on a certain theme for your wedding, which is important to remember for the rest of the celebration so that you can keep a consistent tone throughout your big day. With a theme in mind, one simple yet overlooked detail of your wedding is your reception tables. Believe it or not, you can add quite a bit of emphasis if you make some adjustments to your reception tables. Here are just a few aesthetic changes you can make:

1. Consider the color scheme of your reception table and how it fits in with the theme of your wedding. For example, if you are having a summer-themed wedding, you will want to choose bright, bold, and cheerful colors. Typically, good colors to think about for this idea would be yellow, magenta, orange, cyan, and coral.

2. Add appropriate accessories and make sure that you get them at a discounted price. If you want to have centerpieces on your reception table, find out if there is a cheap and easy way to make them on your own. It is never a bad idea to go to your most beloved arts and crafts store and find the essential items necessary to make a centerpiece while buying it at a discounted price. If you cannot find these items on sale, you could always find coupons online and print them out or even show them to the cashier through your smartphone.

3. Research wedding reception tables and the way that they are designed. If you enjoy reading wedding magazines or browsing through them, make sure to pay careful attention to the reception tables. How tall are they? Which color scheme spoke to you the most? Don’t forget to tackle these questions!

4. Don’t forget about the candy. Every wedding needs a bit of candy and having it on the reception tables is a perfect addition. Candies of all types, such as butter mints, will work extraordinarily well (especially if you can fit it in a bowl or in a gift bag.) There is nothing as delicious as candy!

Enjoy your wedding in style this year with beautiful reception tables. Don’t forget that every detail of your wedding counts!

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Tips for Making Your Child’s Next Birthday Party Fun and Easy

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a birthday party for a 2 year old or a 12 year old, planning birthday parties can be stressful.  Today there’s a lot of pressure on parents to make sure that their child has the perfect birthday party, and as the years go on that stress to constantly plan something bigger and better can start to get to parents.

No parent wants their child to have a disappointing birthday, but that doesn’t mean that you have to make yourself sick with stress in order to give them a nice party.  Instead of spending another night online endlessly searching for new party themes to top your old ones, follow these tips so that you can throw your child a wonderful birthday party.

Don’t go overboard

So many parents feel pressure to add as much fun and activities to birthday parties, but that strategy can backfire when the big day comes.  It isn’t uncommon for parents to make birthday parties a lot more difficult than they need to be.  Kids don’t need to have a party full of activities to keep them entertained, and having a party that’s too full of things to do can leave kids feeling worn out and cranky by the time things are over.  Don’t feel like you have to have every minute of the party planned with activities.  A handful of fun games are all you need to please your child and their guests.

Save money where you can

Birthday party expenses can add up pretty quickly, and a lot of parents end up spending much more money on the party then they had planned on.  Use coupons if you’re planning on order pizza for everyone at the party.  Order bulk candy to make sure the kids have enough candy for the party, and a little extra to bring home as a favor.  Buy party supplies online at a discount so that you don’t overspend at specialty stores.

Don’t focus on parents

Recently a lot of birthday parties have been planned more to cater to parents instead of kids.  That trend can seem like it makes sense, after all you don’t want parents to be bored if they decide to stay for the party.  It is a nice gesture, but that just takes time and money away from making sure that the kids have a good time.  Don’t feel the need to make a special adult menu, or have an activity planned for them.  Like you, they’re here to make sure that their kids have a good time, so they probably aren’t too concerned about being entertained.

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Ideas for Wedding Favors

When you’re getting married, you have a lot of things on your mind.  Finding a place to get married, settling on rings and outfits, and deciding on who gets to be in the wedding party can be time consuming.  After you finish the ceremony, planning “small” things like wedding invitations and centerpieces can make you tired just thinking about.  One thing a lot of brides stress over isn’t the ceremony or the reception; it’s the wedding favors they’re going to give their guests.

In the past some people would simply send their guests a picture after the big day, but today wedding favors have gotten a lot more creative.  You want to give out something that people will actually want, and you want it to reflect on you and your partner’s personalities.  If you’re stressing over what you want to give your guests at your wedding, these bits of advice could help make the final decision much easier.

Think about your theme

Does your wedding have a particular theme?  If so, your best bet for wedding favors would be something that ties into your overall wedding theme.  Are you having a classy black tie affair?  Custom champagne glasses engraved with the names of the bride and groom can go along with the theme nicely.  Are your bridal colors blue and white?  Give out some bags of blue candy to match your theme.  Sometimes a simple tie-in can be enough to give your guests a memorable gift to bring home from your ceremony.

Consider the season

If you don’t have a theme for your wedding, you may want to consider tying your gift into the season you’re getting married in.  If you’re getting married in the spring, consider sending your guests home with seed packets and customized pots.  If you’re having a summer wedding, consider giving out some beach towels with the bride and grooms names.

Tie in a personal element

Some couples like to give out party favors that have a personal tie to their relationships.  If you met your spouse at a beach, beach theme favors could be ideal for wedding gifts.  If you and your spouse love to take pictures together, send your guests home with a personalized picture frame.  If you met during a concert, you could give your guests a mix CD filled with your favorite songs.

Make a donation

If you can’t think of a wedding favor, you could devote the money you set aside for them to charity and make a charitable donation in your guest’s name.  All you need to do is print out a few nice cards that explain that a donation has been made in their name to charity of your choice.

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