A Christmas Tradition: Candy Canes

A Christmas Tradition: Candy Canes

Did you know …

According to church history, a choirmaster came up with a sweet idea in 1670, to keep the children in the choir from fidgeting during the church services. He went to see the candy maker, who had some white stick candy. He asked the candy maker to bend the sticks to look like a shepherd’s staff, which he did.

The candy canes had a special meaning.

The choirmaster gave the children the candy, explaining that the pure white color represented that Jesus never sinned. The shape of the candy reminded the children that shepherds visited the baby Jesus.

Candy canes decorated the Christmas trees.

A hundred years later, white candy canes decorated family Christmas trees in Germany. The hook on the candy cane made them easy to hang. Children ate the treats hanging on the tree when the decorations were taken down on January 6th.

The first candy canes were solid white.

Hard candy has been around for over a thousand years, perhaps much longer. Candy was usually made in one color, because additional colors had to be added by hand. It wasn’t until one hundred
years ago that the multicolored candy came around.

candy-cane-488009_960_720Candy canes become part of American Christmas celebrations.

Candy canes didn’t become part of the American Christmas traditions until about 1847. August Imgard hung candy canes on his family Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio, as a decoration. Many others soon began to decorate their trees with white candy canes.

In the 1920s, Bob McCormick found a way to hand-twist colors for the candy canes. This gave us the popular candy we enjoy at Christmastime every year.


– Sandra Merville Hart


  1. Christy Osborn Lavett
    Mar 4, 2014

    I’ve heard bits and pieces about the story of how the candy cane came to be. I really enjoyed reading the whole thing in this tidbit of history. Thank you.

    • Sandy
      Mar 4, 2014

      It’s fun to research these holiday traditions and how they came to be. Thanks for commenting and have a wonderful day!

      Sandy Hart

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