The candy cane has been a symbol of the Christmas holiday for centuries. The Shepherd’s crook-shaped candy in red and white has not only been enjoyed as a sweet but also used to decorate Christmas trees almost since the Christmas tree concept arrived in America (the mid-1800’s). The exact origins of the cane aren’t clear. Some tales focus on the religious symbolism of the red and white colors, but those stories are dubious since the first candy canes existed before sugar was refined enough to cool into the pure white color we see today. Others credit a clever 17th century choirmaster with tweaking the already-popular hard candy sticks to produce a confection that would keep children quiet during long holiday services. In general, candies and sweets - which were once much more expensive than they are today - have historic ties to festivals and holidays, occasions when people were willing to purchase special foods. Christmas is of course no exception and the food historians at Food Timeline have a list of some of the most popular Christmas-related foods through history.