Candy Canes: Although there may not have been any spiritual meaning to the candy cane when it was first introduced, Christians can find many symbols pointing us to Jesus from this simple Christmas treat. Some things to observe (taken, in part, from The History of the Candy Cane): 1) Shaped like a Shepherd’s staff, which attended Jesus’ birth and Jesus is referred to as the Great Shepherd 2) Turned upside-down it looks like the letter J for Jesus 3) The candy is hard like the Solid Rock (Jesus) who is the foundation of the church 4) The white of the candy represents the purity of Jesus 5) The red represents His blood that was shed (for more on the candy cane be sure to go to The History of the Candy Cane)
“Teach the children that the cane represents The Shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff helps bring back sheep that have strayed away from the fold. The candy cane represents the sweetness of giving not only at Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year. The spiral design is a symbol that we are, our brother’s keepers.” (A quote from the story, “Teach the Children the True Meaning of Christmas”)
Candy Canes with Beads and Pipe Cleaners
There are actually a couple of easy crafts to do with pipe cleaners. Have fun making them and decorating your Christmas tree or hanging them around the house. They also make great presents for kids to create and give to grandparents, aunts, uncles or other family and friends.
White pipe cleaners
Red pipe cleaners
Red pony beads
White pony beads
1) Choose a pipe cleaner. It doesn’t matter if its red or white.
2) Pick a red bead and put it on the pipe cleaner. Loop the end of the pipe cleaner around this first bead to secure it so it won’t fall off.
3) Now take a white bead and slide it down on top of the red bead. Keep changing colors; next a red then a white, continuing the pattern.
4) Once you have the pipe cleaner filled, be sure sure to wrap the end of the pipe cleaner around the last bead so it doesn’t fall off.
5) Then bend the top of the pipe cleaner over to make the hook part of the candy cane.
There you go…a beautiful candy cane to decorate with or give as a present.
Another simple candy cane craft:
1) Take one white and one red pipe cleaner.
2) Simply twist them together.
3) Then bend the top of the pipe cleaners over to make the hook part of the candy cane.
Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!
(Poem found on ministry-to-children.com)
I usually have a list of foods that would be great for snacks or meals but this topic makes for a rather limited variety of foods BUT I did find a great post, by Barbara Shelby. She has several ideas of things you can do with candy canes other than just eat them. For example, use them as stir sticks or smash them into pieces and use them in your favorite recipes. She even suggests crushing them into a fine powder and using them as a flavored sugar. For more detailed ideas go to her post, “Candy Canes and Peppermint Candy Ideas”.
Another fun way to incorporate candy canes into your meal time would be to make your child a Bento lunch. Bento meals are something new to me (thanks Pinterest). They are common in Japanese cuisine. One style of Bento meal is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items like plants (or candy canes). Here are a few links to blogs that have candy cane bento meals. Maybe they will inspire you:
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
Reading Level: 6 and up
This is a sweet story about a stranger that comes to a small town to open a store. The mayor hoped it was a doctor. The ladies hoped it was a tailor that would make beautiful dresses. The farmers hoped the man was a trader that would exchange their grain for goods. Can you guess what the children were hoping the store was? Yes, they were wishing for a candy store and their wish came true. The man had a strange candy that they hadn’t seen before. It had red and white stripes and it hooked on the end. Do you know what kind of candy it was? Read the story to find out more about this wonderful candy and its special meaning for Christmas.
**I put the reading level at 6 years old and above because one of the things the story talks about is Jesus dying on the cross and the red blood that He shed. I believe it is appropriate but I wanted to make sure you were aware of this part of the story. I read the story to my 4 and 5 year old preschool class but I was teaching at a Christian preschool.