Ah, holiday season. For me, it is really Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Festivus rolled into one.
Anyway, I loves me some holiday season because the candy flows like wine. And, because the focus is more on buying presents, the candy — while prevalent to the point of gluttonous (heck, we even DECORATE with candied and cookied houses) — flies under the radar, unlike Halloween, which is my real Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus.
Anyway, some of you are still novices and, therefore, may be a little uncertain about Sweets Etiquette in this time of giving. So, without further ado, here is your official Patch 5 Candy Rules Holiday Guide You’re Welcome(tm):
1. Fact: Candy tastes better in holiday shapes and colors. Look, it’s axiomatic to say that Snickers is freakin’ delicious. But studies have shown that candy tastes between 7 and 13 percent better when in the shape of a particular holiday symbol. Normal Snickers? Awesome. Snickers in the shape of Santa and wrapped in festive foil? Incredibly Awesome.
You try and tell me that Peanut M&Ms — which are so freakin’ amazing, they could make a bulldog kiss a hound (I have no idea what that means, but I heard it in a song once, so I’m going with it) — don’t taste better when they come exclusively in red and green. No, the dyes don’t have any flavor, but man they sure do taste better than their average, workaday, multi-colored brethren.
2. Rule No. 1 only applies either before or on the holiday. It’s also a well-established fact that holiday candy tastes 10 to 15 percent worse if consumed after the holiday, even if just by minutes. So, that candy cane you ate at 11:58 p.m. on Christmas Day? You’re pushing it, but still delicious. Choking down that chocolate dreidel at 12:02 a.m. on Dec. 17? You, my friend, just ate a laxative. To help you out, I’ve come up with a simple rule (channeling my inner Johnny Cochran) for you follow:
If the holiday deadline you did not beat; then the festive candy you shall not eat.
(Ed. note: the above line can only be uttered in public by Yoda. Otherwise you may be taken to an area medical clinic by relatives who believe you are stroking out.)
3. Let ‘er Rip. And by rip, I mean your pants after the obligatory weight gain from going silly on all the holiday treats. As big box retailers so wisely showed us by blurring Black Friday into Thanksgiving, ‘tis the season of wild excess. This is not the time to be timid. Other than Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, your kids’ or other young relatives’ birthdays, Thanksgiving, Purim, the 4th of July, Arbor Day, and any other day on the calendar ending in a number, there is no other time during the year that it is socially acceptable to eat candy to absolute excess.
Go for it, I say. Sure, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom from just about every doctor worth his or her (very moderately portioned) salt. But what do they know? Where is the science to back up that eating vast quantities of sweets is bad for you? Show me the data. (Looks at the data).
Uh, on second thought, maybe just let ‘er rip on one day and just go look at some gingerbread houses.
Still, bear in mind this little factoid...
4. Holiday candy scavenged contains 52 percent fewer calories than holiday candy bought. Look, you purchase a Reeses’ Peanut Butter Snowman, it’s going to be an amazing experience when you eat it. But you’ll have to live with the bulging belly to go with your shrinking wallet. But, if you take that same delicious confection from an office candy dish, no consequences. Free candy = Free mind. That, my friend, isn’t science. It’s magic. So if you make several passes at the chocolate display while shopping for a ham at the supermarket, fear not, brave candy warrior. You aren’t doing any harm to your waistline (Ed. Note: You may be doing harm to your waistline.)
Incidentally, this rule applies year-round. It’s why I more often than not get kicked out of my local bank after I stuff my pockets full of lollipops. No lie, I leave the bank with, like, six or eight lollipops. Now that I have stepchildren, in the back of my mind I at least can justify my actions by telling myself that I might give one to each of them, even though I know I probably won’t. Hey, if they want one, they can come to the bank, too. Ain’t nuthin’ good going on in the bank. Ever. So I get me a boredom bailout every time I go in there.
5. Don’t listen to anything I wrote in Rules 1 through 4. Seriously, if you do, you may wind up with Type 2 diabetes, the gout or heart palpitations. I haven’t run this piece by legal, but I’m pretty sure none of this will fly.