ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA. | There’s a survey for everything. I’m still waiting for most popular plush salamander toy by state, but there are plenty of others to read and many of them seasonal.

 

CandyStore.com surveyed 50,000 of its customers to find the most popular Christmas candy by state. CandyStore.com sells candy by bulk. Kind of appropriate to use the words candy and bulk in the same sentence. But it’s Christmas and you can eat all the candy you want, and if you can survive, you can join a health club and work it all off with everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution to eat less and exercise more.

There were some shockers in the survey. Florida and Massachusetts buy more Skittles at Christmas than any other candy. Taste the rainbow, Skittles says, with lemon, lime, grape, orange, strawberry and cherry, and colors to match. Skittles also offers paradise purple, watermelon, pink lemonade, kiwi banana and tangerine.

You can understand this in Florida, where it is not a common practice to stomp the snow off your boots at the back door and warm by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate.

South Carolina favored Pez, probably those that come in the Santa, Rudolph and Frosty dispensers. Idaho, Iowa and Kansas, good sensible states, liked M&Ms in those nice Christmas colors, green and red.

Mississippi folks like Snickers. Candy companies have this figured out: You turn out thumbnail candy bars in a Christmas-themed wrapper and call it fun size. Which leads me to wonder if the regular candy bar is serious size. I take it pretty seriously when a candy bar for which I once paid 15 cents now goes for $1.

Alabama likes reindeer corn, which is the same as the orange-yellow-and-white Halloween candy corn except it’s green-red-and-white.

Georgia’s favorite is the peppermint candy cane, fitting when you figure Robert E. McCormack’s Albany, Ga., company was the first to wrap candy in cellophane in 1919. A family member later invented a machine that could twist candy sticks to give them that red-and-white barber pole swirl and Bobs Candy Co. turned out millions of candy canes each year.

Supposedly, Germans first began handing out candy canes at Christmas 250 years ago, probably because they were shaped like shepherd’s hooks.

On the subject of candy canes, I read that Oreos is going to make a black-and-white version. I’m not sure folks are going to go for a candy cane the color of a police cruiser, but you never know.

In my humble opinion, only a couple of states got it right. Alaska and Colorado like Hershey’s Kisses at Christmas.

As kids, my sisters and I only had those at Christmas. When we got up on Christmas morning, the presents were scattered around the living room or stuck in the tree, but there was always a shoe box, usually decorated, for each of us. It had an orange, tangerines, a collection of nuts and, always, a handful of Hershey’s Kisses.

I ate the candy first, then ate the almonds, pecans and hazelnuts. The Brazil nuts were left until last because they were about as easy to crack as a cinder block. I’d take mine out on the porch and smash them with a claw hammer, and usually end up with an inedible paste of Brazil nut shell and meat, and porch dirt. Because Brazil nuts have a lot of fat, I’d also end up with a greasy-headed hammer.

We had candy all year, but not the bell-shaped kisses. I guess my parents figured rightly that if they gave us each a candy bar, I wouldn’t steal my sisters’ Butterfingers or Three Musketeers, but I sure as heck would sneak one Kiss at a time until there was only one left in the bag. I always left one, so when they hollered, “Did you eat all this candy?” I could truthfully say I had not.

We also got some York’s Peppermint Patties because they were peppermint and it was Christmas. No state picked York’s Peppermint Patties for Christmas, but I noticed California picked peppermint bark. That just added to my conviction that when Trump builds his wall, he needs to run it up the eastern side of California.

You can find every state’s top three favorites at https://www.candystore.com/blog/holidays/christmas-candy-popular-states/.

My favorite Christmas candy now? Anything chocolate with nuts in it, preferably pecans or hazelnuts.

I’d settle for plain Hershey’s Kisses shaped like a Christmas bell.

terry.dickson@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405