Well, we’ve put away the Christmas decorations, cards, tossed out the wrapping paper and perhaps saved some of the boxes and gift bags for the next holiday season. We have stored the Halloween things and the Thanksgiving items. And now guess what! St. Valentine’s Day is coming! I like this holiday, because like the others that we just celebrated, there is a special theme; and this theme is romance with hearts, candy, flowers and of course the color red.
Naturally Valentine Day came up as a subject to discuss. Deciding on the history and working on that, I found it has been done so much that it just didn’t work. What to do? Conversation Candy Hearts! Hooray!! These have been a tradition since the civil war. They are made by NECCO (New England Confectionary Company) and they were first made with printed paper notes inside of them. The candies during this time were crisp and were rather like a fortune cookie.
In 1866, Daniel Chase, the brother of the NECCO founder, Oliver Chase, invented the process of printing words on the candies. The conversation hearts were an instant success and remain so. They have even been featured on our postal stamps. This year’s product have begun production and NECCO makes about 100,000 pounds of candy hearts every day to meet the demand. About 8 billion of the candies are sold in six weeks! This holiday tradition gives easy, creative and unique ways to say I Love You.
Each Valentine Day we are presented with new messages on the candy hearts. Some firsts in 2010, NECCO introduced new flavors; strawberry, green apple, grape, orange, blue raspberry and new sayings. Currently the colors and flavors are pink=cherry, yellow=banana, orange=orange; green=lemon, purple=grape, white=wintergreen and brown=chocolate.
And for the first time the American public was invited to join an online survey to decide on new messages of love. The winners included “Tweet Me”, Text Me”, “You Rock”, “Soul Mate”, “Love Bug” and “You + Me”. Some reappearing will be “Puppy Love”, “Sweet Love”, “Love Me”, and “Sweet Pea”. There were also food inspired sayings from last year: “Recipe 4 Love”, “Table 4 Two” and “Top Chef”. Some favorites will disappear and reappear.
Some you won’t see again because of being outdated such as “Dig Me” or the cheerful happy greeting of “You Are Gay”. Some favorites have been in circulation since being made in a factory in 1902; the classics include “Kiss Me”, “Sweet Talk” and “Be Mine”.