A candy cane is a hard peppermint lolly made in the shape of a walking stick and painted with barbershop stripes of red and white. There is a story that it was given to children in Cologne Cathedral in 1670 and that it represents the crook of the shepherds of the nativity but there’s another story that it signifies St Nicholas’s bishoply crosier, and neither story explains the stripes. What is certain is that candy canes have been around for centuries.
Candy canes are sturdy and distinctive so you can decorate with them; put them on the tree; have a glass of them on your desk at work; stick them into otherwise ordinary cupcakes; or use them as a garnish on Christmas cocktails. They’re cheap so you can tie one onto a Small Present of any kind to make it suddenly Christmassy and they’re very easy to draw so you can use them as a design for your own cards and wrapping paper even if your artistic skills are minimal.
 Which seems dangerous. One of the most embarrassing moments of Gran’s life was when she gave her small children lollies in church to keep them quiet and realised too late that they had left gobs of stickiness all over the pews and the hymn books.
 Which isn’t convincing because, if you were scouring the nativity story for symbols to translate into candy, you’d find a score of more obvious things before you got to shepherds’ crooks.
 They work better on grasshoppers than on whisky sours.
 Dentists say yes.