America Hates These Christmas Candies

The top 10 worst Christmas candies of 2023, from ribbon candy to holiday Peeps.

When new snacks come along, they have the power to change hearts and minds. Before I first tasted Hostess Kazbars, for example, I didn't know just how badly I needed them in my life at all times. But the foods we hate? Those remain rather consistent, cemented forever in our minds as repulsive and reviled. That could explain why the top 10 worst Christmas candies of 2023 are all such classic staples of the season.

The worst Christmas candies of 2023

Bulk candy purveyor CandyStore.com has released its annual list of the 10 worst Christmas candies, as voted on by customers each year. This year's survey received approximately 7,000 responses, and though this data wouldn't exactly pass muster with any statisticians out there, it's still an interesting glimpse at the sweets we love to hate. Here's the top 10 list for 2023:

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10. Peppermint Bark9. Chocolate Oranges8. Life Savers Story Books7. Old-Fashioned Hard Candies6. Ribbon Candy5. Peeps4. Candy Canes (Non-Peppermint)3. Cherry Cordials2. Christmas Nougat1. Reindeer Corn

It's worth noting that Christmas candy doesn't have much of its own personality; usually, it's just repackaged versions of candy associated with other holidays. Peeps, most strongly associated with Easter, are made into trees and snowmen for the winter. Life Savers are bundled in a box printed with a story about Santa and his elves. Candy corn is dyed red and green and relabeled "reindeer corn." Peppermint bark and candy canes (both peppermint and non-) are arguably the only true Christmas candies on this list, associated first and foremost with the month of December.

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Christmas nougat and reindeer corn have both floated back and forth between the top two spots in the list for years now. The nougat, which comes in bags of individually wrapped pieces, looks and feels a lot like saltwater taffy, each piece printed with a Christmas tree. The product is essentially a chewy peppermint alternative to candy canes, and it's a texture I actually prefer to the latter's hard-to-eat crook (to say nothing of candy canes' ability to administer mouth splinters). Clearly, many people don't agree with me: "Who thought squishy and minty would be a good combo?" one respondent of the survey wrote.

Reindeer corn's bad reputation, meanwhile, is pretty self-explanatory. People who hate candy corn are loud about it, and they're evidently loud about it at Christmas, too.

Certain items were distinctly less hated in 2023 than in prior years, according to the survey data. Peppermint bark, Life Savers Story Books, and old-fashioned hard candies rebounded a bit from their positions higher up on last year's list, meaning fewer people directed their ire at those candies. The candies that made the highest leap, growing more hated by the largest percentage in 2023, were Peeps and ribbon candy, each jumping two spots in the list. I guess most people want their sweets to have a flavor beyond "sugar."

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Luckily, there are so many delectable options at Christmastime that holiday shoppers don't have to touch these candies with a ten-foot pole if they don't want to. But hey, speaking of candies I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole, I have to ask: How on earth did those dreaded holiday spice drops avoid landing on the list?

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