The Candy Cane
Church history records show that a choirmaster at German's Cologne Cathedral was faced with the problem of keeping the children quiet during the services in which they had performed. He thought of a brilliant plan to provide candy to the children to keep them quiet and busy during the rest of the church service. He sought out a local candy maker with his proposal.
The white candy became a teaching tool, having asked the candy maker to bend the sticks into a crook at the top. He took the opportunity to teach the children about the shepherds keeping watch over their sheep, coming to visit the baby Jesus with their canes in hand.
Legend has it that the stripes were added by the English as a way to identify each other during the Puritan's ban on Christmas celebrations. The stripes supposedly added to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The timing may not be correct for this legend, as the ability to color and produce the stripes didn't happen until much later.
The popular tradition didn't take resident in America until several decades before the Civil War when they were used as ornaments on trees. It wasn't until the 1920's that the upside candy was associated with the letter J for Jesus.
Does your family decorate with candy canes?