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What was in your Christmas stocking growing-up?

What type of treats and possibly fruits were in your Christmas stocking?
Which items did you look forward to?--Specific brands? Seasonal candies?
Which did you discard?
(Is there anything you wished would be in your stocking that was not?)

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  1. As far as I can recall the only edible item ever was a tangerine in the toe of the stocking.
    My mom was a bit of a control freak regarding sweets - and their absence would not have seemed at all odd to me.
    I never wished sweets to be there, probably because it never occurred to me that they could have been.
    But now you've raised the subject I can see that I was deprived of a childhood right and I shall be seeking therapy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peg

      LIke Peg, the only thing I recall is a tangerine. We had post World War 2 rationing of sugar until I was nearly five and I reckon the scarcity in those formative years has meant I've never developed much of a sweet tooth.

    2. My mother always put in three oranges symbolizing wealth (See: Traditional English pawnshop sign) and nuts symbolizing prosperity as well as some chocolates and at least one candy cane. (I was never a fan of either as I don't have a sweet tooth.)

      There were small "stocking stuffer" gifts, too, chosen for me by "Santa." I was not expected to share these with my sister and brother. One year I got a watch. Mmmm...perhaps that's why I still treasure small treats.

      And I always looked forward to the Danish butter cookies that still come in a round tin:)

      One year my brother got coal in his stocking. Yes, he was quite a handful as a child!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Seeker19104

        Thanks for bringing back some great memories -- me sister, brother and I received the same sort of things in our stockings and until I read your post it never occurred to me that there was a tradition behind them.

      2. First of all, we did not have a "Christmas stocking." We used an old sock, or if we were allowed, one of our father's socks. We usually got "Necco" Wafers, gum and maybe an orange. I cannot say that I looked forward to anything in the sock. We were more interested in what Santa was bringing. I grew up in the 50's without a TV until I was 12yo. We were not influenced by TV ads. In looking back it seems like it was a simpler time. Dolls, trains, skates were the treasured items.

        4 Replies
        1. re: barb2007

          tangarine fillers, some toffees, candy cane and the rest included small games, toys, school supplies. I remember it was fun as part of christmas ritual but we were consumers at a small age, waiting to see all the presents. Now I wish for less consumerism at the holiday period, and we have as a group decided to curtail gift purchases to focus on other parts of christmas celebrations.

          1. re: barb2007

            My mother used a sock when she was a child as well. They didn't have designated socks, just picked one out of the drawer on Christmas eve and according to my mother's telling of the story, my grandmother always had to remind her to pick one that was clean, and without holes. The church also gave everyone "Christmas bags" after the Christmas pageant every year. Each brown paper lunch bag was filled with an apple, an orange, a bag of peanuts, and a chocolate bar. Most churches in the area still give the bags to kids, and deliver them to elderly church members.

            1. re: mpjmph

              I recently read a story someplace about Christmas traditions and there was the story from an elderly man about getting the paper sack at church with in the shell peanuts, an apple, an orange and ribbon candy. We got the exact same thing at church when I was a kid. I moved away from my hometown many years ago but I wonder if they still do that at the church I went to as a kid.

              1. re: John E.

                My family is from Eastern North Carolina, if that helps localize the tradition. It's deeply seated enough here that the church groups on campus at my alma mater (and now employer) let parents buy them for their kids/students during fall exams.

          2. I don't recall all that much about what my brothers and I got from Santa in our Christmas stockings. As we got to be older I do remember that's where we got underwear and socks. We also usually got an orange and an onion. The oranges were because apparently that's what my parents got in their stockings and it was considered quite a treat in the Depression. As I recall, the onion was in lieu of a lump of coal. A lump of coal was not really available to Santa in our area and as I recall it was Santa's way of telling us that although we were pretty good boys, there was always room for improvement. I don't think the onions started showing up until long after the actually belief there is a Santa was over.

            19 Replies
            1. re: John E.

              We didn't get the onions (my sisters and I were perfect angels every year ;), but we always got the orange in the toe of the stocking. And mom did say it came from their days as children of the depression, when an orange in winter was quite a luxury. We didn't really understand it as kids, spoiled kids who had fresh oranges year round.

              As far as other food items in the stocking: there was always a Christmas-themed chocolate and a candy cane and those clear taffies (barley pops?) in Christmas shapes/colors.

              1. re: gaffk

                I don't remember too many specifics anymore about what was in the Christmas stocking. Santa always brought the toys that we asked him for (well, maybe not all of them), the under-the-tree gifts always came from family. I do remember, or more precisely, i remember my mother telling the story about how when I was about 5 years old I changed my mind about what I wanted Santa to bring. Apparently, I changed my mind on about December 23rd and on Christmas morning I took one look at my stocking and I said, "That's not my stuff". My kids used to find that story amusing when my mother told it to them.

                1. re: gaffk

                  I remember lollypops like that! Green red or gold, teaberry, cinnamon and not sure what else, but they were hard as a rock and took forever to eat.

                  1. re: Island

                    Yes, those lollipops were still around months later. And yet I still buy them every year. Ah nostalgia.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      I haven't seen them since I was a kid in PA. Maybe they're a PA or East Coast thing. Ah nostalgia for sure, cuz now I want one!

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Thank you! I never knew they were called barley lollipops. The cut rock candy and hard candy straws I see on that site often accompanied the linty ribbon candy in my stocking.

                    2. re: Island

                      We would also get an orange, and those old fashioned lollipops, they were in odd shapes too like a boot, a glove… there’s fair that we go to at a Mennonite farm every fall, and one of the vendors makes them still from those antique molds… Love them! (though ours never came in flavors)
                      We sometimes got the lifesaver books but always, ALWAYS chocolate coins!

                      1. re: cgarner

                        Every year my aunt buys us the GENERIC lifesaver books-blech! We all appreciate the thought but I'm 46 and I wish she would stop.

                        1. re: dmjordan

                          Does not sound like you appreciate the thought. Years from now, when she is not around to give you them, you will think back and reminisce about how you joked and lauged about those lifesaver books.

                          1. re: wadejay26

                            TRUE My Nan and Pop used to give us each a chocolate Santa with our Christmas presents... the chocolate was TERRIBLE, even as a kid I knew it... but it's just one of those things that we miss about our grandparents every Christmas.

                            1. re: wadejay26

                              I actually SAID that I appreciate the thought. We still joke a laugh about these books and she is still alive and kicking and still buying the generic livesaver books. The only reason I wish she would stop is that I hate wasting food and I throw them out every year.

                              1. re: dmjordan

                                Well, this Christmas Eve my aunt proudly announced that on Black Friday she scored the real Lifesavers books! We all hooted and had a good laugh. She even knows the generics aren't as good. It's all in good fun.

                                1. re: dmjordan

                                  Funny! You have me craving one of those. Any newfangled Lifesaver flavors in there?

                                  1. re: Island

                                    Nah, but I was so excited to get the tropical fruit. That is never included in the generics.

                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                        I got Life Saver candy canes this year, all tropical. The pineapple were the best!

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Life Saver candy canes?? Never saw those and sad I missed them if the came in pineapple! I like the coconut Lifesavers in the tropical mix.

                                          1. re: Island

                                            I got them at Walgreens I think, there were a dozen of six different flavors and colors.

                  2. There was always an orange filling up the toe section and a candy cane over the top. For many years, we'd get the "story book" packages of Life Savers or a net bag of gold coins. The rest were little knick-knacks or doodads that Mom picked up through the year.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tracylee

                      Your post brought back a vague memory from grade school. We must have done some sort of small gift exchange with a spending limit. I remember those Lfesaver books were a favorite, probably by the mothers as well because it was an easy solution to the gift buying problem.

                      1. re: tracylee

                        Santa occasionally left storybook lifesavers in our stockings, and those were by far my favorite candy present. We always got oranges, and usually we got those mini candy canes that come attached in columns (I'm having trouble describing them, the wrappers were attached end to end). I never really cared about the candy canes.

                        1. re: rusty_s

                          We used those little candy canes to stir our hot chocolate. Mom always stocked up on them at Christmas and we had minty hot chocolate all winter.

                          Think I'll go out and get those little candy canes again; haven't had minty hot chocolate in years.

                      2. An orange, candy canes and chocolate coins were always there and make up part of my daughter's stocking these days (and the one I do for my mom). In my youth,'Bonnie Bell Lip Smakers and as a kid, a few sets of batteries that matched the toys Santa brought.

                        1. Same thing every year. An apple, an orange, a bag of fancy hard candy, and a bag of nuts. Plus a small toy.

                          1. Always saved the stocking for last and it always had an orange or tangerine in the toe, linty ribbon candy, a Gertrude Halk solid milk chocolate Santa or other figure on a stick , and a candy cane on the top. A treasure trove of other small treats like gum or the Lifesaver book, toys or trinkets in between like a small doll, super ball, slinky, Rubik's cube, and when a little older maybe an ornament, costume jewelry, nailpolish or lip balm. I remember my brothers always had Hot Wheel cars and doll freak younger sister once got a little doll in a plastic locket that was supposed to smell like strawberry , lavender or something pleasant, but it reeked and she continued to collect more of those stink bombs!

                            Mr Island thought the fruit "filler" was a weird tradition and he still puts a piece in the toe of my stocking. It's the original stocking I had as a kid and boy is that antique beat!

                            Ahhh, thanks for the memories.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Island

                              Someone mentioned chocolate coins. I've no idea why, but it seems every kid in New Zealand got "chocolate money".

                              1. re: pippimac

                                That is actually Chanukah gelt. :-)

                                1. re: pippimac

                                  We always got chocolate money, too...and my mom was from Dixon, MO! I get it for my kids' stockings, too. The thing I miss is the can of Smokehouse almonds. For some reason, a can of almonds was my mom's definition of 'special'. There was always a can in our stocking, she'd tuck a can into your basket of clean laundry when you went back to college after a weekend home, if you'd had a really hard day she would often leave a can of them on your pillow. Aw, sniffle, now I want a damn can of Smokehouse almonds.

                                2. re: Island

                                  Did we grow up in the same house!?! For some reason we always had nuts of some kind in the stocking, too.

                                  I remember the stinky dolls in the locket! I had all of them, too. That's a smell memory that doesn't go away easily.

                                  1. re: tmlarsen

                                    Your smell memory comment reminded my of my own. When I was a little kid I remember getting Fuzzy Wuzzy Bath Soap in my Christmas stocking, my brothers did too. We were at my grandmother's house and my Fuzzy Wuzzy went missing. I looked everywhere for it. I even looked on subsequent visits to Grandma's house. I'm pretty sure one of my cousins swiped it.

                                  2. re: Island

                                    Kiddles! Those dolls were Kiddles and I loved them. I had Kiddle Kologne and Lemon lolipop and a whole jewlery set with bracelet, necklace and ring. Of course my parents didn't buy me these things; they came from the Santa at the Scotiabank Christmas party! I always got the stuff I wanted most there.

                                  3. An orange, candy canes and some small gifts...and ALWAYS a toothbrush! I've passed it along to my offspring as well!

                                    1. When I was young, always an orange for some reason, then all sorts of small stuff. Toothbrushes, candy, socks, lip balm, small toys, etc., etc. And since my dad was head of Exxon's (Standard Oil back then) "coal" department, sometimes a lump of hard coal as a joke.

                                      As I got older, my parents dispensed with the actual stocking & packed my "stocking" gifts in a big box. LOTS of foodie items - Lumpfish caviar, small cooking gadgets, sardines, treats for my horse/cats/dogs/bird, etc., etc.

                                      Now that my parents are into their 80's, I'm the one sending a "stocking" box to them!!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Breezychow

                                        Hey Breezy thanks for the idea. My Dad is also in his 80's and I usually send him some $, candy and gift certificates. This year I think I'll send them in a stocking with his name on it.

                                      2. Lots of different candy, most notable were gold chocolate "coins" and a pez dispenser with plenty of refills. Those were my favorites, I still have all my pez dispensers. I also got packets of nuts like cashews and almonds.
                                        Non food items were always fruity lip balms and hand lotions. I think it was Santa's way of telling a little girl to take care of her dry and chapped skin ;)

                                        1. I also always got an orange (which I never ate). Growing up in Southern California, an orange wasn't really a "treat," but just a tradition my mom kept going. I don't remember any other foodstuffs in the stocking; I think candy was reserved for Easter baskets, which appeared Easter morning on the dining table.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: emily

                                            I thought the Easter Bunny always his the baskets delivered to children? I remember having to hunt around the livingroom for my Easter Basket.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              The Easter bunny would leave it next to our bed until we started sleeping with the door closed and then it was the hallway outside our bedroom. My mother is still a stickler for keeping the magic alive. Santa and th Easter bunny still come although we are 27 and 24 and each own our own houses etc. I am assuming once we have children this will end.

                                            2. re: emily

                                              Ditto for Southern California upbringing, emily. "Santa" used to go out into the backyard and pull citrus from our trees. It always seemed like a nothing gift even when my mother explained what a delicious treat it was when she was growing up. It was everyday food for us, so not special. The ribbon candy was a treat but my favorites were the See's candy chocolate & caramel lollipops. Candied nuts and dates also made an annual appearance.

                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                I gotta tell you Sherri, the orange wasn't a big deal to a kid in Minnesota either.(Although I always ended up with 2 oranges because my older brother would not eat fruit of any kind but he was willing to peel his orange for me to eat and thus avoid having to eat it himself).

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  Not a big deal for a kid in PA either. I never knew the symbolism and as a kid I thought it was filler. Love oranges but never ate the one in my stocking.

                                                  I remember popcorn balls wrapped in colored cellophane. That was a standard in premade stockings given at school or neighborhood children's Xmas parties at the American legion. Hated those,but would probably like them now.The stocking was like a red plastic mesh with a decorative cardboard "cuff" stapled on the top. Anyone remember those?

                                            3. I don't remember. I really don't. DH and his siblings got things like socks, toothpaste, a new toothbrush, deodorant, and so forth. Plus some candy.

                                              1. When I was a kid one of our standard stocking items was the much anticipated personal jar of olives.

                                                1. It's funny remembering this. My mom always told of how she and her sibs got oranges and nuts in their stockings, the orange being the real treat of winter, as many have noted. She told me once that my father never had a stocking, which struck me as terribly sad at the time.

                                                  While we kids always had stockings, with the requisite candy cane hooked over the top, they never contained other foodstuffs. We usually had toiletries in ours; occasionally the "big" gift, a ring or a watch or whatever, would be stuffed inside, to throw us off guard. Sometimes, we'd find a note with a clue as to where to look for some other coveted treasure.

                                                  I still like the sentimental romance of stockings, so I hang them from the mantel, but generaly fill them w/trinkets and not food.

                                                  1. We got clementines and little chocolates. We also got things like small dime-store type toys and combs or brushes...we always had stockings chock-full of goodies. It is a tradition I carried over to my kids. Stocking stuffing continues to be a fun part of christmas.

                                                    1. What Christmas stocking?

                                                      1. My brother and I got Andes mints and those awful cherry cordials. I liked them when I was very young but as I got older I just couldn't tell my mother, "Hey, stop buying that crap candy" or anything of the sort - so until I moved out, the cherry cordials kept coming.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: JReichert

                                                          Yes those disgusting cherry cordials! My husband loves a few of those at Xmas, but I think it's more about the memory than the taste...it's got to be. I always get him a little box for his stocking.

                                                        2. Always an orange in the toe, plus a potato that was used to make potato pancakes for breakfast. Santa didn't put candy in our stockings. We had a pair of wooden clogs my dad got in the Netherlands while on leave from military service in Germany. They lived on the hearth year round, but on Christmas Santa filled them with chocolates. Eventually, Santa started bringing nicer chocolate in smaller quantities that wouldn't fill the clogs, and left them in the stockings.

                                                          1. I always got Whitman's chocolates, a pez dispenser, a lifesavers book, as I got older, I got make-up, and a few small toys.

                                                            1. Four tins with "gourmet" peppers and salts.


                                                              1. I've loved reading all your answers. My sister and I got our first stockings when we were about 17 & 20. My parents never did this but my dad married #4 when I was 21 and she was big into holidays. We loved it! Her kids all had handmade stockings and when I got mine I was so jazzed! One of my step-sisters made it and put my favorite things on it. At that time it was a monkey hanging from a tree with a can of Budweiser in his hand! 30+ years later I still use it each year. I remember we always got a toothbrush, new underwear and candy from England plus tons of other stuff. I remember so vividly my step-mother telling me there have to be at least 20 things in each stocking. I took it to heart and have never looked back. I enjoy shopping for stocking stuffers more than presents trying to live up to her example.
                                                                Sorry this was a little off subject but it brought back such great memories.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: julesrules4food

                                                                  To julesrules4food:
                                                                  This was an awesome post! I have never heard of the 20+ rule, but if I ever have children or nieces and nephews, I am going to employ that rule.

                                                                  Thanks for sharing!

                                                                2. Oh this has been a topic of many jokes over the years in my family. My mom worked at health food stores when my brother and I were growing up. Every year we would get carob Santa Claus candies (yes carob), Panda brand licorice and Wetsoy brand soymilk drinks (they had some sweet ones like mint and chocolate that were actually pretty good). Yes, really quite sad.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: virtualguthrie

                                                                    My fiance's (just a fiance as that wedding never happened) mother was a health food nut (I'm sure she'd have ended up hating me had I ever become her DIL!), and I got a stocking from her one year, and it was filled w/carob "fudge" and lots of different, horrible tasting sugarless "cookies." (My BF told me he and his sibs had been getting those for years and pretending to like them--but even their dogs wouldn't eat them.) But she really was a nice woman, and I'm a firm believer in it's the thought that counts so I choked a few down and thanked her profusely. I remember my BF's sister whispering to me, "don't encourage her."

                                                                    I had not thought about carob in years.

                                                                  2. As a kid, the tangerine in the toe was always there, I remember once finding one that had mummified. Maybe left over from the year before? Always a little box of cereal for breakfast. The lifesaver book sometimes. As I got older, Yardley makeup was added. When I got married, my MIL got me a stocking at her house; she always had more doodads and funny stuff than treats, but always included a few tiny bottles of different cordials. I liked that tradition!

                                                                    1. We always received an orange in our stocking because my mom always received one as a child. They were very poor and having an orange was a huge treat. We five kids always received a box of cereal as a gift. Don't laugh! We didn't have a lot of money and the sugar cereals were to more expensive than the generic rice krispies and cheerios. I always asked for Count Chocula. Then we would trade bowls being careful that the other sibling didn't take even a smidge more than we got from them. My sister always had trouble trading the granola she always requested. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                                        I had an orange in the bottom of mine, but it was one of those English chocolate ones, wrapped in orange foil, and when sharply rapped on a hard surface it magically separated into 'orange' segments. Also chocolate coins, and nuts - those Brazil nuts were a nightmare to crack...

                                                                      2. After reading how oranges/tangerines are so universal, while wondering why, I had to google and found this interesting story.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                            You're welcome, I loved the story of St Nicholas and will add it to my repertoire of trivial facts for our family gathering this holiday season. Don't think my husband got the orange/tangerine treat and am looking forward to reminiscing with his brother and sister. This is a great topic for the holidays!

                                                                        1. We had a candy cane at the top and a tangerine in the toe, and a bunch of little toys and doodads in between. My particular bane was emery boards, of which I had several hundred before I was deemed too old for a stocking.

                                                                          1. There was always a tangerine in the toe. Every year I also got mixed nuts in the shell. Gold foil covered chocolate coins (Geldt) and a Book shaped box of assorted Lifesavers. There were also assorted small toys.

                                                                            1. We didn't have Christmas stockings but we would find a treat in our house shoes (placed neatly in front of the bed the night before) on December 6. for St Nicholas. It was usually an Apple, Nuts, some Cookies, stuff like that.

                                                                              edited to add:
                                                                              apropos St Nicholas - how can one ever forget the very funny Loriot's Advent poem ( german speakers.....)

                                                                              1. Don't forget the Whitman's Sampler!
                                                                                At some point my "Santa" started going with a big pomegranate in the toe--that must have been when they first became available in far flung places like MN. I still remember the first time I saw and ate one--it probably came out of my stocking. I still look forward to buying them this time of year. Prior to that it was always the biggest apple or orange you had ever seen.

                                                                                1. My brother and I always got oranges too, and probably some nuts. I think there was often a fifty-cent piece, as well. And something no one else has mentioned--maple sugar candy. I try to put it in my son's stocking when I can find it, but I can't always. We got other little things, as well, usually including a little Hallmark calendar--I think they used to give them out free with a purchase, maybe?

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Cliocooks

                                                                                    Had forgotten the Hallmark calendars--those were in our stockings too!

                                                                                    1. re: Cliocooks

                                                                                      I actually went to my small candy shop for barley pops and maple sugar candy--and the free calendar--after reading this thread. No One Ever Finishes A Barley Pop.

                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                        "No One Ever Finishes A Barley Pop."

                                                                                        Oh but how we tried. :>)

                                                                                        What are some new traditions? iTunes gift cards and lottery tickets?

                                                                                        1. re: Island

                                                                                          For my 21 year old son I always do a deck of cards, gift cards to subway and whatever else fast food places he's into now, toothbrush, cool socks from skateboard or surf stores, cool boxers, itunes or xbox points cards, See's candy and whatever else I find that he won't say "epic fail" to.

                                                                                          1. re: Island

                                                                                            I don't know, as I'm now old :{ But I do give my great nephews barley pops and argyle sweaters. Twenty years from now they'll laugh.

                                                                                            1. re: Island

                                                                                              My 15-year-old likes to make himself "lattes" using our single-serve coffeemaker, so recently I've been giving him flavored coffees--he likes mocha. Also travel-size toiletries, which are boring but he doesn't complain. I guess those aren't new traditions, though, so much as adapatations to an older child.

                                                                                              1. re: Cliocooks

                                                                                                I got single serve cocoas in college. Forgot about those.
                                                                                                If any of you still have stockings please let us know if you get anything novel this year!

                                                                                                1. re: Island

                                                                                                  I actually have 2 single pkgs of peppermint cocoa in my sister's stocking this year. Great idea about passing on ideas of new things that show up this year. Since I'm the 20+ rule person I'm always looking for help.

                                                                                                  1. re: julesrules4food

                                                                                                    This year, I received sugar-cookie Teas by Celestial seasonings, socks, chapsticks, more socks, a car air-freshener, gum and mints, and soap.

                                                                                                    Other good things I have gotten: chocolate (this was missing, I wonder if that is a message.. just kidding), floss, bobbypins, ponytail-holders, Panda licorice, calendars, nailpolish, individual special condiments (not ketchup but international mini bottles of maple syrup and fruit spreads... like from World Market), ornaments for the tree, and those cheap stretchy gloves that actually work ok..

                                                                                            2. re: gaffk

                                                                                              I have finished many barley pops in my day. Right now my barley pop of choice is from a local microbrewery that is dark and hoppy. ; )

                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                Think that's a whole different barley pop . . . those I have been known to finish (though not as a child ;)

                                                                                          2. One of those "books" of Life Savers, a box of plain M&M's (back when blue didn't exist and there was tan) and one of those chocolate orange balls (wrapped in foil that divided into sections).

                                                                                            1. A giant navel orange, a giant (mealy, tasteless) Red Delicious apple, one of those large, fat peppermint sticks, and mixed nuts in the shell.

                                                                                              1. For many years I got everyone a pair of black panties. Boxers for the men, giant granny panties for my mom , and something lacy for my sister.

                                                                                                1. I received Kinder Surprises (chocolate eggs with the tiny toys inside) in my stocking. I wasn't one of the younger kids by then but I still loved those kinder surprises. Another item I really loved as a kid was mini sticker book...

                                                                                                  Something I've been wanting to use as a stocking stuffer treat are those chocolate oreos. I have seen them at Peets and Bloomingdales. They are delicious.

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: chocomel

                                                                                                    I spent a few Christmases in Europe, chocomel, and I loved those eggs w/the the tiny toys inside as much as the all the kinder did--but I have never been able to find those here though I've seen lots of other candy made by that company.

                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                      Kinder Surprises are illegal in the U.S. It is illegal to have a non-edible item inside an edible food item. I am quite sure size is the biggest reason for this law. (I cannot believe it would be illegal to sell a full size chocolate basketball with a real baseball inside it.) The small surprise inside has been labeled a choking hazard. I remember about a year ago I first learned of these candies when someone had their Kinder Eggs seized at the border while attempting to enter the U.S. with the contraband.

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                        Mystery solved--thank you, John. I have smuggled them in myself, to the utter delight of my niece, not realizing I was smuggling (or I'd have disguised them better!)

                                                                                                        My friend's Austrian mother used to send them--illegally, I now realize-- to her grandchildren when they were little. Who knew Oma was a criminal? ; )

                                                                                                        We all marveled at the (relative) intricacy of those little toys--and their logical tiny instruction sheets. But for the kids, they were the double bomb--a toy AND a chocolate candy.

                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                          I remember reading last January about a woman crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in the eastern U.S. with some Kinder Eggs. They were confiscated and she could have been fined $300. The penalty might be worse for smuggling through the U.S. Mail. ; )

                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                          I received one from a friend in Canada a few years ago when a bunch of us forum (not this forum) moderators would exchange gifts. It was quite a surprise to find a toy inside! I guess the post office wasn't as strict as customs might have been for someone carrying it in person.

                                                                                                    2. My sisters and I got ribbon hard candy and a 'japanese orange' (only once a year) and some unshelled peanuts and a candy cane.

                                                                                                      1. Yeah those 'books' of Lifesavers were fun. Does anyone know if there's a business that still makes some of the candies etc mentioned here using the original recipes?

                                                                                                        1. The kids will find Arch Cards in their stockings this year.

                                                                                                          1. When we were kids, there was usually a marshmallow santa, gum and orange tictacs (we all loved the tictacs - I could have done without the gum!). Then mom would fill it out with new socks, little toys, etc.

                                                                                                            Now that we're older, we still get socks and other little gifts (toiletries, socks, gloves, etc.), and always a book of stamps, even though we've told our mom that we pay our bills online and can't use them up, lol. My sister still gets orange tictacs, too (I don't eat much sugar anymore so mom stopped getting them for me).

                                                                                                            This will be our first Christmas where my nieces will be old enough to understand getting a stocking, so I'll be interested to see what my sister gives them!

                                                                                                            1. Grew up in Kentucky, and citrus wasn't available year-round, so I thought that's why we got an orange & in-shell nuts in our Christmas stockings. Didn't know of the traditions elsewhere. We also got those (awful) giant peppermint sticks, maybe 1 1/2" wide and had to be smacked w/ a hammer to get any candy at all.

                                                                                                              I don't recall why, but we began getting 1 penny each year, with that year's date. We kept that tradition for decades (the stockings got too heavy to hang properly!), and Mr P and I continue to do that now, for the nearly 40 yrs we've been together.