Thin enough to melt in your mouth, ribbon candy is shiny, sweet, colorful ribbons of candy, distinctive in color and shape. The holiday treat was created centuries ago in Europe, where confectioners first designed it to decorate their shops, and the curls were done by hand around the candy-maker’s thumb. Today the candy is manufactured on a large scale with machines but is still carefully tended by candy-makers to make sure the delicate ribbons come out perfectly.
Ribbon candy eventually made its way to America, where it quickly caught on, becoming a sensation in New England and then spreading throughout the country. Although it is enjoyed as part of many family traditions, only a few companies still make it, and it is usually only found in stores beginning in the fall through the Christmas holidays.
The history of Ribbon Candy Day
For Judy Pancoast of New Hampshire, Ribbon Candy has a special meaning. “My father’s birthday was December 21st, and since it was so close to Christmas all he ever wanted for his birthday was a box of ribbon candy. He passed away in the spring of 1998. As his birthday approached I began to feel sad, thinking that I had no one to give a box of ribbon candy to that year. Then it dawned on me- I could honor my Daddy by giving away boxes of ribbon candy in his name on his birthday. That year I purchased ten boxes and gave them away to random people I met, and I provided my children with boxes to give away at school. It has become a family tradition, and along the way many of my friends have picked it up as well. My father wasn’t rich or famous; he was a quiet man who enjoyed the simple things in life, like a box of candy. I hope everyone will join me in honoring his spirit by giving away a box of Ribbon Candy on December 21st – Ribbon Candy Day!” Judy created a Facebook page in an effort to spread the word, and learned that Ribbon Candy has a special place in the hearts of countless people as part of their holiday traditions.
Here is a sampling of the comments:
- I get a box of ribbon candy every year for Christmas from my parents, they have carried on the gift from my adopted grandmother who passed away in 1999
- Our neighbor always gave us ribbon candy for Christmas. She was the sweetest old lady, and always got a thrill out of giving it to us. Every time I see ribbon candy, I think of her.
- My grandmother loved ribbon candy too and it was always part of her Christmas dining table!
- So many memories of ribbon candy at Christmas time .. Both of my parents loved Christmas hard candy, so there was ALWAYS some ribbon candy under our tree!
How to celebrate Ribbon Candy Day
An important part of Ribbon Candy Day is not just enjoying it, but giving it away. Purchase a few boxes and give them to your friends, family and co-workers. But even better, give them to the people you encounter who often go unrecognized, like the bank teller, the checkout person at the grocery store, or the toll booth attendant. The surprise and smiles you see on their faces will truly remind you of what Christmas is all about. And if you think of it, say you’re giving the candy in the memory of Raymond, a wonderful Dad who only ever wanted a box of Ribbon Candy on his birthday.