They’ve trimmed the tree and decked the halls. Next item on customers’ lists – enjoying longtime holiday candy favorites. According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), 90% of Americans plan to share or gift chocolate and candy this season. This plan has paid off for retailers, with Nielsen reporting $1.08 billion in Christmas candy sales in 2016, and positive projections for the coming years.
While new Christmas treats are popping up every year, we’re feeling nostalgic for those candies that have stood the test of time. Nostalgia is universal, and Old Fashioned Holiday Candy spans across several generations conjuring up memories of bygone days and happy times. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we wax nostalgic for a bit and introduce a few new twists on the perennial favorites, helping to create memories for the next generations.
Sweet, fruity, crunchy, sparkly and full of vibrant color – everything you want from a holiday candy. As beautiful to look at as it is to eat, rock candy makes a striking presentation in stores and on dessert tables. But don’t think it’s relegated to the kids’ table. Rock candy got its start as an accompaniment to rye whiskey, but made a detour to candy shops during prohibition. Thanks to a recent resurgence in the popularity of craft rye and whiskey — mixologists are recommending rock candy as a swanky swizzle for the classic beverage rock and rye. Speaking of whiskey. . . Irish coffee, anyone? A rock candy stick complements this after-dinner drink quite nicely. In fact, rock candy sticks can give a sweet kick to coffee drinks any time of day. For a bold celebratory statement, rock candy swizzled in champagne adds more sparkle to the season.
Handmade Candy Canes
Candy canes are the best-selling non-chocolate candy in the month of December, according to the NCA. The tried and true traditional cool peppermint brings the feeling of winter’s chill, while the red and white colors are so in season. Handmade candy canes, with their chunkier profile, unique shapes and signature nipped ends add a touch of elegance to holiday desserts. Amp up the charm — present these stunning canes around a vase, inspiring customers to create their own candy cane centerpieces or dessert garnish. We prefer full-on old school — hanging them on the tree. And, these hefty holiday classics are available in a rainbow of colors and flavors, so there is something to suit every sweet tooth.
Though these old-fashioned beauties are enjoyed year-round, barber pole candy sticks are attractive during the holidays as they’re technically the original candy cane. Candy canes first appeared in Europe as a straight, white candy stick, and didn’t earn their curves or stripes until later on. For those customers who prefer their barber poles without the mint kick — fruit flavored, soda flavored, and classics like butterscotch and even spices like cinnamon and clove, are all widely available. Barber poles also break out of the traditional candy cane colors, giving customers more options to create candy centerpieces to match their holiday theme.
The original Christmas candy, ribbon candy was created by European candy shop owners during Christmas time to use as an elegant focal point for store windows. Everyone falls in love with looping pulled sugar ribbons at first sight. Maybe it’s because the swirling, striped loops of colorful sugar bring visions of the piles of presents about to be received. The larger, more traditional versions are quite delicate and often difficult to present, so consider carrying Nancy Adam’s baby size version of this nostalgic classic. It’s easy to add to a candy dish or adorn a ribbon candy-inspired cake.
Cut Rock Candy
While we can’t confirm why cut rock candy is a Christmas classic, we are able to confirm that many churches, Sunday schools, and civic organizations gave children mini candy boxes as gifts to celebrate the season (and, we assume, to keep kids quiet during church services.) We can only speculate that these highly colorful and detailed candies were part of the mix. Every piece of cut rock candy is a mini masterpiece. Each design of cut rock candy starts out as several different large candy logs that are piled and bunched together to create a specific pattern, then rolled super thin and sliced. The end result: intricate images of fruits, flowers, or holiday themes, that are perfect for presentation. Crafty customers will also love making their own cut rock candy ornaments by melting multiple pieces together.
Raspberry Filled Hard Candies
Like the Cut Rock Candy, we’re not sure how this raspberry filled hard candy became a Christmas tradition, but they are delightful! A sweet hard candy on the outside, and gooey, fruity center. Their red color is on point for the holiday season, and their berry-inspired texture looks festive in a candy dish. Fun fact – most hard candies started out as ‘medicine’ to treat sore throats. We think a hard candy a day may keep the doctor away this holiday season (or, at the very least, bring on a smile).
Happy Golden Days of Yore
Whether it’s the holiday time or anytime, nostalgic candies help customers connect with their past, giving them a glimpse back to simpler times, which as we’ve previously discussed, is good for business. Help customers find these holiday favorites with clever merchandising. The colors and fun shapes are selfie-worthy, so promote your assortment on social media and encourage customers to share their memories, too.
Want to add old fashioned flare to your store during the holidays and all year round? Visit our selection of old-fashioned favorites.