A Celebration of Sad Christmas Candy


Let’s talk about sad Christmas candy. I’m talking about the cheap, no-brand-name, totally rando crap that appears out of the woodwork come the holidays. They’re from the sketchy-sounding companies you’ve never heard of. What do they even do the rest of the year? What do they even make? My guess is particle board. Because that’s what their chocolates usually taste like. And I love it.

To me, it also tastes like childhood. Because my grandmother worked at K-Mart and brought us heaps of the stuff. And K-Mart is the exact type of store where you’ll find this stuff, in the flickering-fluorescent holiday aisle that always looks a little disheveled and run-down. I witnessed this phenomenon last night, as I perused the aisle. I was in Big Lots, but same difference. There was stuff just sort of coughed up in everywhere, on the floor, haphazardly hanging from uneven peg hooks, misplaced, misunderstood and most of all, unloved.

An employee came over to try and straighten it up before closing. I watched as she picked up a bag of candy off the floor. She placed it back on on the shelf. It slid off. She picked it back up. It slid off again. She picked it back up. It hit the floor again with a big fat plop. She muttered something under her breath and walked away. People, what I’m saying is, this aisle knows. The aisle of cheap, sad candy KNOWS.

I had to buy some to review it. To love it. To celebrate it.


Palmer’s “Christmas Mix”
Cheapness Factor: $3

Crappiness Factor:


Here. This image encapsulates the crappiness factor. It’s that foil wrapper, with no apparent place to start peeling it off. So you just attempt to peel it anywhere you can, but it only rips off a tiny piece. It takes twenty minutes to open to this candy and it won’t be worth it.

Even though the bag advertises a variety mix of “fudge bells” and “peanut butter cups” and “Crisp Kringles,” I can tell you that they all taste exactly the same — like sawdust.


Jolly Holidays Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheapness Factor: .90

Crappiness Factor:


I mean, look at them. They look they were rejected from a box of Cookie Crisp cereal. They’re dry, chalky, gritty, and don’t taste like chocolate chip. Oddly enough, they taste like peanuts. Also oddly enough, I quite liked them. They remind me of the paltry little dessert you get with your Fiestada in the elementary school cafeteria.


Spangler Christmas Circus Peanuts – Peppermint
Cheapness Factor: $2

Crappiness Factor:

Circus Peanuts are one of those things that you either hate or YOU HATE. Normally they taste like the couch upholstery. I couldn’t wait to find out what they tasted like if you added peppermint into the mix.

… oh

… my

… god.

Words cannot convey how truly disgusting these are. But I will try. It’s like a marshmallow, with all hints of marshmallow removed, leaving behind only the skeletal dehydrated husk, then pumped full of polyfill, flavored with the toothpaste scum that’s dried on the bottom of your toothbrush holder — but hell, even that sounds more appealing than what I just put in my mouth.

It’s bad. It’s nightmares.


Sweet’s Cinnamon Santas
Cheapness Factor: $2

Crappiness Factor:


This artwork seriously depresses me.

Tastes like: potpourri. I’m actually pretty sure THIS IS potpourri, accidentally packaged as candy.

I take back everything I said. I hate sad Christmas candy. I do not love it.


19 thoughts on “A Celebration of Sad Christmas Candy

  1. Sad and true as it may be, these sad Christmas candies are the only candies that some children get because that is all that “Santa” can afford. They are yuckie…..

  2. Dude,

    Fellow Marylander here (but have lived in Oregon since 2001). Anyway, I tried describing Fiestada to my wife (unsuccessfully) on and off for years. Actually, it took me those couple of years before I finally remembered what it was called (that was maybe a year ago now). Just wanted to take a moment to say I found some comfort in reading your blog and seeing it mentioned (I thought maybe I was the only one that knew it existed). I wonder if it still does. Was it just a Maryland thing? Or an East Coast thing?

    One thing is for sure- it kicked ass! That and the rectangular wedge of cheese that some of the meals came with.


      1. It did answer a lot of my questions, and somehow I feel a little better now–like a small void in my left elbow was filled in. Oh, and I forwarded it to my wife, so now she can learn about what I’ve been failing to describe to her all this time. Thanks!

  3. Sadly, I’m very familiar with the cheaper varieties of Christmas candies. I almost think it’s worse when they’re mixed in with the brand name stuff. One second, you’re enjoying a nice Hershey’s chocolate bell, the next, a grainy cocoa monstrosity from God-knows-what company.

    I’m always amazed by how these candies can taste stale as soon as they come out of the wrapper. Maybe they have this stuff stockpiled for years in advance.

  4. Loved the review. The only thing missing is the little striped, cylinder-shaped, hard candies with no wrappers that my grandma used to put in the stockings at her house that we’re always stuck to the bottom of the stocking and ended up covered in fuzzies.

  5. There must be a certain amount of cocoa in a candy for the company to say it is “chocolate,” and that is why a lot of the cheap candy says it is “chocolaty candy” rather than “chocolate.”

    Thanks for a classic “Surfing Pizza” post, and put me down for “HATE THEM” on the circus peanuts.

  6. I love that you reviewed this stuff. My grandmother used to give all her grandchildren big bags of candy each year for Christmas and Easter, and they were filled with this type of candy. The chocolate crisps ones were my favourites, but I was 5 and was simply happy eating “candy”. Thanks for the nostalgia! Also… this post made me really thankful I’m Canadian. I’ve never heard anything good about circus peanuts and I’ve never seen them here. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  7. “Circus Peanuts are one of those things that you either hate or YOU HATE.” – this had me laughing to myself at my desk at work. Classic Surfing Pizza post – I love it all! Thank you, once again, for going where no other sane adult has the guts to go. I can’t help but wonder – what do you do with the rest of the candy? Eat it anyway (ya know, cause it’s there) or throw it away?

    1. I was thinking of doing a follow up post actually. The circus peanuts went straight into the trashcan. The cinnamon santas — I poured half the bag into a candy dish and threw the rest out. Turns out the wife LOOOOVES these things and am sad that I threw the rest out. The fake chocolates — I ate them all anyway and the wife teased me about it.

  8. Ooh, I didn’t know you replied until I saw you mention my question in your later post! Thanks for solving the mystery – I appreciate it :) Merry almost-Christmas Pizza!

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