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The Definitive ranking of worst Christmas holiday candies


By Ben George, candystore.com

It’s a delicate game, asking customers about their least favorite product of yours. The negativity flows so freely and easily. Once you open the door though, it’s difficult to encourage restraint.

We sell candy and love and respect candy of all kinds. The opinions below are not ours, but of some of our customers. It’s important to note that people’s preferences about candy are their own subjective opinions.

Candy is a much bigger part of culture than most people realize. People’s likes and dislikes are shaped by a thousand different influences over their lifetime, and especially their childhood.

They often contradict metrics like sales data. Some of the biggest sellers are also mentioned below as the most hated. Their popularity only serving to enhance the vitriol from those whose opinions have been shaped the other way.

That is how we came to rank the worst Christmas candy. While doing a larger survey, we tacked this on as a final question, hoping to get something out of it. Over 11,000 customers responded.

Without further ado, the top ten WORST Christmas candies.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s only and in no way reflect the opinions of CandyStore.com.

Honorable Mention (aka #11) – Peppermint Candy Canes

Ok, it’s not top ten, but given the extreme (cannot be overstated!) popularity of this candy during the holiday season, we though it merited a mention. And it goes to show you that even the most popular candies have many haters.

Initial response from our team: What are these people thinking?! This is a huge seller and adorns a large number of people’s Christmas trees not to mention the general decor of pretty much everywhere in December. It’s objectively extremely popular. Why is it hated at all?

Theory: dislike is stronger for things we see a lot of. If one is never reminded of a thing’s existence, that thing is less likely to upset them. Whereas, if it’s everywhere they go…

We are not here to judge, only to convey survey results.

Ok, now the official top ten.

#10 Ribbon Candy

Ribbon candy stayed at #10 this year, a spot it’s apparently getting comfortable in. This is the third year it’s come in at the same spot.

Most comments about ribbon candy seem to go along with the idea that the only thing ribbon candy has only one thing going for it: appearance. And while that can be the foundation for a very good life as a human, as a candy we need more. As anyone who watched the Great British Bakeoff knows, it’s gotta taste good and the texture has to be right.

Given the fact that it’s basically for decorative purposes only, in my mind anyway, I was surprised this wasn’t higher on the list. It’s supposed to be candy but if you actually eat it, well, it is just an awkward thing to try and eat.

Yeah, so clearly no one enjoys the actual eating of these. But there are 9 other candies the are more reviled.

#9 Peppermint Bark

For the second year in a row, Peppermint Bark had the most positive movement of any candy. They were #7 worst last year, and now sit at #9. Peppermint brak seems to be having a moment. It did really well on the Christmas Candy by State Map as well. All that marketing must be finally paying off.

It does seem a little controversial. It was also mentioned by a bunch of seriously passionate haters. The bark thing can be way overdone. Walk into Trader Joe’s and it’s everywhere. By the way, a Peppermint Bark smoothie is just a peppermint smoothie, ok. There’s no more bark if you puree it.

The biggest thing for me is that it should be this crispy, sharp crunchy candy like the broken up pieces of toffee, but it’s sometimes not. When it’s got no crunch, only a limp kind of give and then soft separation, then I agree: yuk.

#8 Candy Canes – Non-Peppermint – Was #9

People love originality. When you take something popular and spin it slightly, it can come off as gimmicky and unattractive. Some will love it, but its popularity tends to not last as long. It’s trendy or considered tacky sometimes.

Of course, it makes sense that anything popular will be replicated and iterated upon to infinity. The candy cane phenomenon is no exception. The results, however, are vile. The rainbow fruit candy canes could almost pass for simply bad. But even those saw a lot of mentions in people’s top 3 worst Christmas candies. Many people are probably not even aware of such Franken-candy creations as pickle-flavored candy canes. That’s, pickle. Pickle. Run children! RUN!

#7 Old-Fashioned Hard Candy Mix

These old-fashioned candies moved up the list this year from number 8 last year. Same thing happened the year before, when it moved from #10. People are liking this stuff less and less. Not a positive trend.

I guess can see why they made the list, but they sort of don’t even exist in a world of food to me. It’s like a bowl of jewels that have been around since your grandmother’s grandparents smuggled them from the motherland in the 1890s, except with a negative store of value. They look like they used to be pretty but are kind of faded and sad and nobody really regards them much anymore. They might all be stuck together in one large mass now. It never really occurred to me to actually pick one up and try it. 

#6 Chocolate Oranges

I had honestly never even heard of these before. I cannot speak to the actual taste of them, but it was my impression that they each had a real slice of orange inside. That would be really interesting to try and perhaps an effort to be applauded.

Nope. Milk chocolate (the inferior sibling of dark chocolate) covered orange cream, which some brands like to call Creme ‘de Orange. Let’s come back down to Earth here. It’s orange cream. I can see it. It didn’t just come out the back of a French patisserie.

In any case, I will leave the judging of its flavor to those who might better know.

#5 Peeps

As if we even need to address this one. The texture alone gives me the heeby geebies. Is anyone really under the delusion that these are actually marshmallows? It’s like swallowing rubbery styrofoam. Then there’s the fact that it’s basically just rubber and sugar with a coating of sugar on the outside.

So obviously the Holiday Peeps are bad. But over the past 2 years, they have improved their position by one both times. Started at the #3 worst, and are now at #5. That is positive news for Peeps, which often draws a lot of attention both positive and negative. People do love them, but also many people do hate them.

#4 Reindeer Corn

Reindeer corn are still very hated, even though they too have dropped each of the past 2 years. They were the #2 worst two years ago, and it seems people’s distaste for them is waning.

By the way, I disagree on this one. I like Reindeer Corn. Maybe it’s because I’m from Michigan, where it’s highly thought of according to our holiday candy maps. But there is substance here, people. It’s tasty sugary goodness and solid nostalgia. It feels like Americana, and if you can’t get behind America on this one, I don’t know what to tell you.

Reindeer corn is also a very popular Christmas candy. This is one that is very polarizing. Hate away haters, I love this stuff.

#3 Lifesavers Story Books

Old-timey Lifesavers Storybooks are moving in the opposite direction. They were #5 last year, now they are one of the top three worst holiday candies.

These are the biggest joke. It’s not even that LifeSavers are all that bad. They’re fine. It’s the packaging here. And it is an flagrant violation. Do not try package a bunch of normal Life Savers in a Christmas story book thing and pass that off as something I wanna read / receive in a stocking / consume on the most specialist of special mornings of the year. It’s going to end up camouflaged on the bookshelf for years on end.

#2 Christmas Tree Nougat – Last Year’s Winner

The nougat candies no longer hold the top spot this year. That must feel good after 2 straight years as the #1 worst holiday candy.

The peppermint nougat candies have a fundamental problem though. It seems they are thought of by many to have a flavor that is inconsistent with expectations for a nougat candy. Chewy texture suggests to many a rich caramel or chocolate experience. Maybe the minty flavor is just at odds with what your brain expects. Brain-mouth dissonance?

Also, it does look like a poker chip that you can only cash in for sadness. The consistency at first is slightly resistant to the bite down and then accelerating into soft and gooey acceptance and then instant regret. The stick-to-your-teeth factor is suborbital. So you end up moving your jaws in as many different directions as they’ll go to try and unstick the damn thing. Then that flavor hits. Oh man. That false minty flavor that gives you a little twinge in your brain and makes you aware again that your gag reflex is still working. Wretched is a word that comes to mind. Seriously the WORST but voted here to be the runner-up!

#1 Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cordials – #2 Last Year

Cherry cordials made a big jump up the list last year. They went from #5 to #2. And now they are the #1 worst holiday candy. It is not completely undeserved.

Why do chocolate cherry cordials fail so miserably? Chocolate is good, yes. Cherries are good, of course. As with many things in life, it’s all in the execution.

Sometimes a surprise in the middle is a good thing. This is not one of those times. What in the name of all that is holy is that nasty watery sugar liquid seeping out from the inside. It’s just weird, and gooey in a way that totally creeps me out. In order to eat these without A) spilling nasty candy juice on yourself B) having to look at the inside of this vile creation and C) having anyone associate you with the nasty dripping chocolate thing you’re eating, you have to pop this whole thing in your mouth at once.

How many times can you tolerate a whole cherry cordial in your mouth? Once? Maybe, before I’m reminded of previous holiday seasons’ disappointment.

So that’s our list. What did you think? Agree, disagree? 

You can let them know your opinion in the comments at https://www.candystore.com/blog/holidays/worst-christmas-candy/

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