Saturday, October 21, 2006

What's Christmas without a Candy Cane?

What's Christmas without a Candy Cane? by Christopher Pratt


There is much written these days about the candy cane; everything from urban legends to historical explanations of just how and when this traditional candy came into being.

The old urban legend says a candy maker in Indiana wanted to symbolize the birth of Christ with the use of a piece of candy, so he took a hard candy stick which was pure white then shaped it into a letter "J" for Jesus and added some red stripes to represent God's love and the trinity. This legend has been disputed, unfortunately; although one could believe what one wants regarding the Christmas delicacy.

The actual history of the candy cane goes more like this. At Cologne Cathedral back in 1670, the choirmaster was nervous that the children who were attending the pageant of living nativities would become a little too antsy and disruptive, so he gave them a white candy stick bent into the shape of a shepherd's crook. This kept the little tikes appeased and became a tradition throughout Europe.

The candy canes became popular in America by the 1800's and were used to help decorate Christmas trees. The little canes were still pure white at this time and were even depicted on Christmas cards as such.

In the early 20th century, the canes gained the beautiful red striping they bear today. Bob McCormick of Albany, GA, is the confectioner responsible for reinventing the candy cane into the model we buy today.

Now, what all can one do with a Candy Cane? Well, it is possibly one of the most recognized symbols of Christmas today. But, it is not just a yummy treat: Not at all! We have become an inventive lot at the holidays, and folks find many diverse uses for their candy. Try some of these:

Make a minty candy stirring stick for hot chocolate, tea, or any hot drink.

Make creative decorations with them: Attach brown pipe cleaners to the crook of the candy cane and make antlers for a candy cane reindeer.

Decorate frosted cakes or cupcakes with crushed candy canes.

Make a garland for the fireplace using the candy canes and evergreens boughs.

Use the tiny candy canes to make a Christmas wreath for the door. Leave in wrappers of course.

Stick a candy cane in the glasses or mugs on your holiday table with name tags attached for each guest.

Make your own holiday cards using a candy cane on the front.

Make a peppermint cream pie using the broken pieces of your candy canes.

Leave them in their cellophane wrappers and put them on the Christmas tree.

Dip the candy canes in chocolate for a new twist on an old favorite.

And if nothing else, have a seat and enjoy eating a candy cane. Regardless of their origin or what they represent, the fact is, they are a tasty treat recognized worldwide; Enjoy!

About the Author

Christopher Pratt is President of Candy Warehouse, the leading online Candy Store for bulk candy discounts and specialty candy for specific occasions. Right now see their Christmas Candy Gift ideas for the holiday season.

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