Frugal Parenting
(featured column)

Author - Rachel Keller

Candy Canes: Over 3 Dozen Creative Uses
by Rachel Keller 

Whether you bought too many candy canes or purchased them at greatly reduced costs after Christmas, try some of these creative ideas for all those candy canes.

Candy canes do not go bad if stored in an airtight container, away from extreme temperatures. Hot humid environments, however, make candy canes look as if they've melted in the wrapper, Stored properly, candy canes can keep for the next year. (Yes, I've done it!)  More...




Hang your candy canes on a Christmas tree for an attractive decoration.

Use candy canes in decorative ornaments such as Stained Glass Cookies. (This recipe is edible, although I don't recommend eating them if you've had them on the tree all season.)

String a row of candy canes across the top of an entryway or fireplace mantle for a festive look.

Candy canes add great finishing touches to gingerbread houses.

Add candy canes to wreaths and center pieces for a unique decoration.

Make a centerpiece decoration with candy canes. One year a friend made one by using 5/8-inch size dowels cut into four-inch sections. After painting them red, she used hot glue to attach the candy canes to the dowel (upside down with the hook away from the dowel). The bottom of the candle rests on the dowel in the center of the candy canes. She added some greenery to the bottom, but you could also add a ribbon around the center. Be creative and make your own centerpiece.

Glue candy canes, curved side up and facing out, around the outside of an empty coffee can for an attractive candy cane vase. Fill with red flowers for a unique table decoration.

An alternative to gluing candy canes would be to hang candy canes on the side of a glass vase. Insert a candle or red flowers into the vase.

If you're having a sit-down Christmas party, try using candy canes as part of each place setting.


If you enjoy crafts, try one of these two ideas:

Candy Cane Mouse 

Candy Cane Reindeer Ornament 


(Editor's Note: My kids and I have been making candy cane reindeer ornaments for years, they are so cute!  If you like those, you may also want to check out this cute Candy Cane Heart Ornament from our homemade Christmas ornament contest last year!)

Cards and Gifts

Add candy canes and a ribbon as decoration on top of your Christmas gifts

Tie a candy cane or two to a gift bag.

Create homemade Christmas cards using candy canes. Glue two candy canes together with the hooked part facing inward and touching to form a heart.

You can also attach candy cane hearts to homemade Valentines.

Spice up Your Beverage

Break up candy canes and drop them into a two-liter bottle of ginger ale. Add this to your punch for a wonderful beverage at your next party.

Crush some candy canes and add them to hot apple cider.

Candy canes make great stirrers for your hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. The flavor of your beverage can change depending on whether you choose peppermint, chocolate mint, cinnamon, cherry or any other flavor.

Add candy cane sprinkles to your milkshake.

Food Ideas

Use crushed candy canes as decoration on cut-out Christmas cookies

Add finely crushed candy canes to cookie batter or make Stained Glass Cookies. The candy adds a unique flavor and crunch and also makes a colorful cookie.

Form candy canes into a heart and place on top of a cake or cupcakes for Christmas or Valentine's Day. (See for a picture.)

Chop up candy canes and sprinkle them on an ice cream sundae.

Mix coarsely crushed candy cane sprinkles with vanilla ice cream to create your own mint ice cream.

Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of your brownies

Mix candy cane sprinkles in crispy rice treats.

Also try adding crushed candy canes to your frosting for a unique candy cane frosting.


White Almond and Candy Cane Bark

Melt ˝ package of white almond bark (or any type of chocolate you prefer). Stir in 6 to 8 crushed candy canes. Pour the mixture onto wax paper and cool to room temperature. Break into serving size pieces.

Peppermint Meringue
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
˝ cup white sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. Drop by spoonfuls 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the cookies. Bake for 1 ˝ hours in preheated oven. Meringues should be completely dry on the inside. Do not allow them to brown. Turn off oven. Keep oven door ajar, and let meringues sit in the oven until completely cool. Loosen from foil with metal spatula. Store loosely covered in cool dry place for up to 2 months.

Candy Cane Cheesecake

This is a yummy way to use those candy canes!


Reinforce math concepts with candy canes. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Place a pile of small candy canes on the table. Have your child estimate how many candy canes are in the pile.

We have ___ boxes of candy canes. Each box has 12 candy canes. How many candy canes do we have in all?

We have ___ candy canes. ___ are red and white striped, ___ are green and white striped, and ___ are multi-striped. What fraction of the candy canes are red and white striped, green and white striped, etc.

We have ___ candy canes on the Christmas tree and ___ candy canes in a basket on our table. How many candy canes do we have altogether?

We have ___ candy canes for our whole family (or to divide with your friends). How many does each person get to eat?

How many more red and white striped candy canes do we have than green and white striped?
We have removed ___ candy canes out of the box. How many are still in the box?
We have ___ candy canes. If we eat ___ candy canes? How many will we have left?

History of the Candy Cane

Do you know why the candy cane was created? Many believe the candy cane's origin is Christian, but is this really true? Read for yourself the interesting history of the candy cane. Even though much surrounding the candy cane's origins are myth, you can still use the simple candy cane to teach great biblical concepts and illustrations which is yet another great way to use those candy canes!

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Copyright © 2008 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.


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