‘Tis the season to be jolly, but with 24% of boys and 27% of girls aged 5-17 years now sporting a ‘jolly’ appearance all year round, this Christmas I am calling for change. (1) I am calling for a boycott on candy canes in Christmas cards.
Of course candy canes are not the complete cause of childhood obesity, but with as much as 51% of our annual weight gain happening over the six week Christmas period, do we really need more empty calories? (2, 3)
Nor are they the sole cause of dental decay, but with 48.7% of children aged 5-6 years having dental decay in baby teeth and nearly 45.1% of children aged 12 years having decay in permanent teeth, do we really need to give them more sugar? (4, 5)
I am sure it is possible to have a very merry Christmas without candy canes, the empty calories they provide or the tooth decay they can cause.
After all candy canes aren’t the epitome of Christmas anyway, are they? I might sound like the Christmas Grinch, but really does skipping on the candy canes really doesn’t change the meaning of Christmas.
Of course we still want to be teaching our children the joy of giving and sharing, of kindness and goodwill, but it is ludicrous to think that a candy cane stuffed in an envelope encapsulates this Christmas spirit.
Other small tokens for children to give to their friends could include:
- Homemade or personalised Christmas decorations or other craft
- Novelty Reindeer food (Place oats and glitter in a small zip lock bag or jar with a little note to leave out for Rudolph and co.)
- Small books or colouring sheets
- Stickers, stamps, pens, pencils, erasers
- Home-made beaded bracelets
- Bubbles or glow sticks
- Home-made Christmas playdough (white playdough with red and green glitter, wrapped and tired with ribbon)