SS’s office is organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange(!) Why the parenthetical exclamation point, you ask? Well, because I secretly like Secret Santa exchanges, cheesy though they may be. Few things* top the excitement of receiving gifts from a person who barely knows you, or a person who barely knows you and intensely dislikes you, for whatever reason (professional or non — take your pick).
Discussion of Secret Santas led into a discussion of Christmas candy: the best, the worst, and the in-between. Loving candy as I do, compiling a list of stinkers was difficult — but not that difficult. Once I’ve boarded the bitch train, disembarking isn’t an option! Without further ado, here’s my list of the all-time worst Xmas candies, in no particular order:
1. Books of Lifesavers
I lied about the “no particular order” thing — Lifesavers’ Sweet Storybooks are the absolute bottom of the Xmas candy barrel (if not the general candy barrel). I actually received one of these via Secret Santa, and I pawned off the ‘savers on less judgy family members. A single roll of Lifesavers is bad enough: the candy is uninventively sweet, and the packaging allows lint of all sorts to cling to the uneaten lozenges. A whole book? You’re out of your damn mind. I’d rather get Ricolas in my stocking — at least those are individually wrapped and kind of Swiss.
2. Canes o’ Kisses
2. Cane o’ Kisses: that sounds sexy and Irish, yeah? Sadly, Hershey’s version is neither. Chocolate kisses are bad enough by the handful; by the caneful, they’re a sin. The only foreseeable use for this novelty is whacking the person who gifted it.
3. Peppermint Nougats
I’ve got no inherent beef with Grandma candies; I have very specific beef with these Grandma candies. In most cases frustratingly (and inexplicably) stale, these bad boys will trash dentalwork like nobody’s bizness. Factor in their nauseating faux-peppermint flavor and their terrible, non-representational fir-tree hearts, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect dud.
4. Ribbon Candy
Unlike the previous item on this list, ribbon candy can be quite beautiful. Its failings lie not in its external appearance, but in its bonding abilities (which statement might also apply to Kim Kardashian). Not properly stored, ribbon candy fuses into one massive candyblob, unable to pried apart by even the most diligent sweet tooth. Nobody likes a candy clot.
5. Non-mint Candy Canes
Candy canes can (and often do) fall into the camp of too sweet candies — those enjoyed only by lit’l kids whose only goal is Max Sugar Ingestion. Still, there’s something beautiful & pure about the original candy cane/attendant nostalgia. Dum-Dum-flavored, Shrek-themed canes, on the other hand, are a bastardization of the form. Candy that mimics other candy is pretty weak — especially if that other candy is MFing Dum-Dums; branding it with a CGI troll does nothing to better its cause.
6. Peppermint Bark
Props to SS for suggesting this item. It’s been years [read: decades] since I sampled any such bark, but SS has had it more recently. She writes, “Peppermint bark…slowly disintegrates, so by the time yours truly gets to it, it’s mostly melty and tiny pieces.” Ability to disintegrate isn’t altogether a bad thing, except in the case of Candy Meant to be Shared. Tiny, melty pieces of Frankensteined white chocolate do not a pleasant eating experience make.
7. Cordial Cherries
I like maraschino cherries. Mostly, I like them as part of a Manhattan, because anything soaked in good bourbon is worth my time. Cordial cherries, however, make me want to disavow their central ingredient. Enrobed in low-rent milk chocolate, each morsel oozes sugarwater that resembles pus more than anything else. NO, SIR!
8. After-dinner Mints
This is kind of a bonus item — after-dinner mints are, after all, available year ’round — but I’ll take any chance I can get to hate on these puppies. Enamel-erodingly sweet, this candy also has the texture of chalk.
And there you go. Armed with the knowledge of which products to bypass in Walgreen’s holiday aisle, you should have no problems stuffing the stockings of your loved ones. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
PS: If I’ve neglected to mention your least-favorite Xmas candy, please do mention it in the comments.
*Uh, this might be a hyperbole. I can think of a lot of things that beat this thrill, but for the sake of the post, plz suspend your disbelief.