Christmas traditions are packed full of symbolism, and today we share one of the most shared of these.

Despite being widely associated with America, candy canes originated in Germany in 1672, when a choirmaster asked a local confectioner to make sweet sticks for the children in the local church to suck when they were getting bored with the long Christmas services. Traditional candy canes are symbolic of the Christmas story.

They are made to look like shepherds’ crooks to symbolise the belief that Christians have that Jesus is the shepherd of the world, and they are red and white to represent the blood and purity associated with the Easter story. Most candy canes were made in Germany, and then taken to other parts of the world until the 1920s when a candy company in Chicago bought a patent for candy cane making machines. Since then, most production has been based in America.

It is possible to make candy canes, but as the recipe involves boiling
very hot sugar, it may be better to leave the making to the experts, and buy a cheap box from a local shop. Instead, why not decorate a candy cane to look like Rudolph? Add a pom-pom ball to the shorter end as a nose, add goggly eyes to just above the nose, tie a pipe-cleaner around the top of the stick as antlers, and tie a short ribbon to the longer end as a bow-tie. You can buy goggly eyes from a craft shop, or make them by punching holes in a white piece of paper, and drawing a small, black, beady eye onto the holes. You can also twist the antlers into all kinds of shapes, and make each one unique.