Some fun and festive facts about all the treats that are consumed every year at Christmas.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and with good reason, because there are so many elements that make this season extra special. It’s a time to give gifts to those we love, sing carols while taking a sleigh ride through the snow, and soak in the in the reds, greens and twinkling lights that are all around. But do you recall the most favorite aspect of all? It wouldn’t be Christmas time without all of the sweets, treats and decadent desserts galore.
There is no doubt that sugar is large and in charge this time of year. Treats are abundant in the aisles of stores, displayed on festive platters at holiday parties and found by the handfuls in stockings on Christmas morning. But do you you ever wonder what the most popular treats are at Christmas and how they came to be? Let’s take a look at four of the most popular Christmas treats with some fun, festive facts about these once-a-year indulgences.
1. Candy Canes
According to Thrillist, “Americans will spend $1.93 billion dollars on sweets during the eight weeks leading up to Christmas.” The most popular sweet in the U.S. is the candy cane. This delightfully curved pole of red and white stripes has been around since the 17th century. It originally started out as purely white, and then sometime after the 1900s the scarlet stripe was added as the standard look. While most candy canes are the perfect size to use as decor on a Christmas Tree, the world’s largest candy cane was 51 feet long and required 900 pounds of sugar.
For our next treat, grab a cup and get some cinnamon and nutmeg ready, because the most popular beverage is eggnog. Eggnog is the descendent of a medieval drink known as “posset.” This drink’s impressive history continues with George Washington as he had his own recipe for eggnog that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. Like many popular holiday flavors, the most bizarre items that eggnog has been infused into is lip balm, saltwater taffy and gumballs.
Whether building a house with an icing infrastructure or making a man with gumdrop buttons, gingerbread is another extremely popular Christmas treat. Surprisingly, gingerbread and ginger root originated in the Middle East and then migrated to Europe during the 11th century. The concept of a gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm wrote the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Forget the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” because a doctor once wrote a prescription of gingerbread for a Swedish king to help cure his depression.
Although many would argue its popularity, it wouldn’t be a complete review of Christmas treats without mentioning the infamous fruitcake. Not only does fruitcake last for a long time due to the alcohol preservatives it contains, but if it does become stale you can resurrect a fruitcake by steaming it, which will bring back the flavor and the moisture. There is an absurd theory that if a single woman puts a piece of fruitcake under her pillow after she attends a wedding, she will dream about her future husband. This theory must not be working out too well, because fruit cake is listed as number eight on the list of the most re-gifted items for Christmas.
If you were able to read about all these treats without being overcome with the need to consume one (well maybe minus the fruitcake) then bravo on your dedication up to this point! But if you haven’t, please feel free to go find one from this list or another holiday favorite and continue to enjoy the sweetest season of all.