Christmas Candy Canes – Xmas History and Facts

The very first noted candy cane did not resemble anything like we know today.  They were straight, white, and the only flavoring was the pure sweet sugar it was created with.

When Christmas trees were adopted as a major part of the Christmas tradition, the trees were decorated with food such as stringed popcorn and white candy sticks.

The first document time that these sugary candy sticks were called “candy canes” was in 1866 and less than 10 years later, they became a yearly Christmas tradition.

All about Bob

Bob McCormack, from Georgia, USA, started making candy canes in 1920 to give to his family, friends, and local children.  The popularity grew in leaps and bounds.


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Bob McCormack opened his own business originally named “Famous Candy Company” and later was known as “Bob’s Candies”.

Production quantity was limited because it was labor-intensive to form each candy cane by hand and the breakage rate was more than 20%.

Gregory Harding Keller was Bob McCormack brother-in-law was studying to be a Priest in Rome, Italy.  He came home and worked in the candy factory during the summers.

Gregory invented a machine to automate the production of the candy cane.

This machine, known as the “Keller Machine” turned and curved the candies automatically and cutting them at the same lengths – thus reducing time and waste.

It was said that Gregory gave these hooked candy sticks to the children in church to keep them quiet during long services.

Bob’s Candies was the first business to mass-produce and also distribute candy canes.  Bob’s Candies was in business for more than eighty successful years.

In 2005, Bob’s Candies was bought out by Farley and Sather’s and candy canes is still an item in their production line.

Not just a piece of candy

Christians love the humble candy cane because, they believe that it has many symbols:

  1. When the hook is turned upside down – it becomes a “J” for Jesus.
  2. The white represents the purity of Jesus.
  3. The three (3) red stripes represent the Holy Trinity and the blood of Christ.
  4. The hardness of the candy is said to represent that Jesus is the solid rock.
  5. The traditional peppermint flavor is a reference to Hyssop, an herb commonly used in the Old Testament for purification.

Fun Facts about the Candy Cane

  1. The world’s largest candy cane was 51 feet long.
  2. More than 1.75 billion candy canes are made each and every year.
  3. Most (more than 90%) of candy canes are purchased between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  4. The flavor spectrum has expanded beyond the basic peppermint, as you can find some unique flavors such as “pickle”, “bacon”, and “bubble gum”
  5. For individuals that like it hot – try a “sriracha” or “wasabi” flavored candy cane.

Here is some food for thought

How do you eat a candy cane? A survey was taken and the results are in.  Only 28% of individuals start at the curved end and 72% start at the straight end.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas Candy Canes

  1. Traditionally, the Christmas candy cane is red and white stripes with peppermint flavor. Today it comes in different flavors and colors.
  2. The Christmas candy cane is said to have its origin in cologne, Germany. It was made in the year 1670.
  3. According to the story, a cathedral choirmaster wanted to keep the children well behaved, so, the local candy maker made stick sweets.
  4. The candy cane is believed to be symbolic. The J shape is for Jesus, the peppermint flavor is for hyssop, the white is a symbol purity and the red is a symbol of Jesus’ blood.
  5. Others believe that the candy cane is shaped like a shepherd’s crook.


Did you know that all of Santa’s reindeer love candy canes? Well, at least that’s what said in the popular movie ”Christmas Chronicles” from 2018.

They were first connected with Christmas in the late 1800s when candy canes began as “candy sticks and were straight sticks only flavored with sugar.

After becoming popular, various religious meanings have been added such as the J-shape meaning Jesus or being a reminder of the shepherd’s crooks.

Word Cloud for Christmas Candy Canes

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas Candy Canes. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas Candy Canes


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