Last weekend, a well-intentioned Home Depot employee stopped me on my way out the door with my three kiddos, and asked if she could give all three of my children full-size candy canes before we left. I’ve never been so happy to be wearing a mask. It allowed me to conceal my gritted teeth as I grudgingly said, “Sure.”
I mean, honestly, what was my other option? My kids had already seen her overflowing basket of hook-shaped confections, and they were all hyped up at the chance to eat their 7000th candy cane of the season. Saying no would have made me look like a total Scrooge.
Maybe I’ll actually sound like old Ebenezer himself when I say this, but I kind of hate candy canes.
To be more specific, I kind of hate the industrial-strength plastic you have to saw through in order to access the actual candy of the candy cane.
I wanted to ask this woman at the hardware store if she would throw in a free box cutter — maybe then I could actually give my kids their minty treats without gnawing my way into them one at a time behind the wheel of my minivan like a frustrated rodent woman on a mission she never agreed to accept.
I have, on rare, joyful occasions come across a candy cane with a perforated wrapper, but I wonder sometimes if they were just a dream or wishful thinking. Have I ever managed to ascertain the brand or get my hands on these crunchy, sugary unicorns? Of course not. They’re the four-leaf clovers of the Christmas season. Perforated candy cane wrappers are Bigfoot. They’re the Jersey Devil. The Loch Ness monster. People swear they exist, but hardly anyone has ever seen them.
December is candy cane season.
They’re everywhere. Every person who wants to spread holiday cheer to my children seems to think, “You know what very small, young people want more than anything? A long stick of peppermint candy with a wrapper so durable that it that could withstand reentry from outer space.” They proceed to hand these delicious-looking snacks to my mostly helpless children whose lives in suburban Tennessee have provided them with precisely zero survival skills. Their treats are wrapped in a suck-sealed plastic liner that has no discernible entrance, and do you know who’s going to have to excavate her way into those suckers — without breaking the candy and risking the ensuing meltdown?
Me. Times three. Every dang time.
Sure, I could let my innocent children chew their own way like I did in the ’80s, but isn’t the whole point of parenting to spare our children the struggles we had to face? What kind of mom would I be if I just threw the candy canes in the back seat and told my precious babes that they’re on their own?
How do these companies intend for us to get into these things?
Are they supposed to be just for show? My mom used to hang all the candy canes on our Christmas tree every year, and now I know why. She wanted me to think they were decorations so I wouldn’t ask her to open them every five seconds!
And you know, this would be bad enough if the peppermint candy canes were the only kind available. I think my kids would tire of that flavor around December 15 or so. But no. We’ve got all kinds of delicious, fruity, even chocolatey options for our candy cane enjoyment now, and every last one of them is a pain in the butt to open. Every. Last. One. I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day and the sweet relief of easily opening the paper-thin foil on a Hershey’s kiss. Bliss.
This article was originally published on