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Candy Gift Ideas

Part Two: Fill 3 Easter Baskets for $20 or Less Per Basket!

In our last blog post we let you know we were working on a bit of a candy project, which like so many things at Blair, turned into a competition! After all the entries were in, we built the following ‘virtual Easter basket.’ It’s up to you to make our example a reality, of course! Below is everything you’ll need to fill 3 Easter Baskets with oodles of candy awesomeness and keep your costs below $20 per basket. What do you think? What would you skip or add? Let us know in the comments!

Non-Candy Supplies You’ll Need: Easter baskets, decorative Easter grass (basket filler/foundation), Easter or Spring-themed small sandwich/snack bags. Note: These small plastic bags can be found at stores like Dollar Tree and Target, and are often put out by major brands such as Ziploc. Easter grass can also be found at stores such as these.

The Candy You’ll Need:

(3) Packs of Marshmallow Peep Bunnies$1.00 each

(2) 10 oz. Bags of Just Born Jelly Beans – $1.40 each

(2) 8.5 oz. Bags of Hershey’s Easter Kisses – $3.05 each

(1) 6-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs – $5.00

(2) 10 oz. Bags of Whoppers Eggs$2.35

(1) 32 oz. Bag of Gummi Fried Eggs – $7.00

(1) 20 oz. Bag of Gummy Butterflies – $3.85

(3) Chocolate Bunnies - $1.00 each

(1) 6-pack of Easter Kit Kats – $3.75

(1) 6-pack of Hershey’s Bunnies$4.75

How To Arrange Everything: Once you’ve filled your Easter baskets with straw and have them ready for the fabulous fill, gather together all your bags of unwrapped candy (jelly beans, gummi fried eggs, Whoppers Eggs and gummy butterflies.) These are the candies you’ll be putting into the Easter-themed snack baggies for presentation and cleanliness’ sake. All of the other candies on the list can be placed right in the basket as they are individually wrapped. Just for fun, I like to ‘drop’ my Hershey Kisses in last, after I’ve filled the basket with the larger pieces. They tend to fall about nicely, filling in any gaps, making your already awesomely-full basket appear even more full!

Part One: Buy Candy in Bulk for the Biggest, Sweetest Easter Baskets!

There’s no getting around the fact that putting together a truly special Easter basket can be a costly venture. While individual pieces of candy can very much be an affordable everyday indulgence, when the task at hand calls for an abundance of sweets and treats, the total tally can be surprisingly high. Luckily for you, we came up with a super simple way to stretch your candy dollar further without leaving the basket with more Easter grass than goodies. And that way is to buy candy in bulk!

Buying candy in bulk makes the most sense for those that will be filling multiple baskets. If you only have one child and you aren’t making a basket for yourself or someone else, it might not be the best fit for you. That said, it can still work out quite well if you like to keep a variety of candy on hand for your own enjoyment throughout the year. Sandwich bags go a long way toward keeping candy fresh!

Instead of just talking about how buying candy in bulk can be beneficial to your pocketbook, we decided to whip up a sample sweets scenario for someone filling 3 Easter baskets. You can, of course, feel free to customize the candy options to better suit the recipients, but we’ve got our eye on some popular favorites. This list is still in the works as we’re all vying for our personal favorites to be included! What we can tell you is there will be 10 candies included, and the candy cost per basket will be less than $20. We hope you’ll check back to see which ‘Top 10’ we decided on! (I am not caving on Gummi Fried Eggs. They’re eggs! It’s an Easter basket! I will win…)

Flowers for Valentine’s Day – The Dollar Store Way!

bud vase image credit: partyhire.co.nz

If you love shopping at the dollar store even half as much as I do, you may have stood before the tiny bud vases so many of those stores offer thinking, “They’re so cute, but what can I possibly use them for?” Yes – I have eyed up those vases more than my fair share of times. I’m drawn in by their charming tininess, but can never seem to think of a way I can use them, so I walk away well-aware that the last thing my house needs is yet another piece of decor I can’t figure out what to do with! Until now, that is.

I can excitedly say that I finally have a reason to pick up a few bud vases, and a good reason at that! Not only do I plan to create a few ‘arrangements’ for my own home, but I think my idea will make for darling little Valentine’s Day gifts for friends. And – it’s super cheap and chic! Aren’t you glad I’m the sharing type? ;)

So, what is this genius idea? It’s super simple, and will take literally a few minutes to create. The only supplies needed are bud vases, conversation hearts, and Valentine’s Day lollipops. You can grab some ribbon too if you’d like to wrap a bow around the vase, but I think it would be pretty either way. Here’s the easy-peasy steps…

1.) Wash and dry the bud vases.

2.) Fill the vases 3/4 to the top with conversation hearts.

3.) Stick a Valentine lollipop or two in the center as ‘flowers’.

4.) Smile – you made an adorable decoration or gift!

In addition to the little vases I’ll be placing on my desk, bedside table, shelves and such, I think I’ll also make a larger one to serve as a table centerpiece. And that means I’ll also have to pick up a larger vase while I’m at the dollar store. Oh well – someone’s gotta do it!

Heart Shaped Lollipops – Share Some Sweetness on a Stick!

While Valentine’s Day was once considered a holiday for children and couples alone, in recent years it has grown into a fun and festive time for singles as well. When dining out at a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day, it is not uncommon to see groups of friends laughing and enjoying each other’s company, adding good times to a good meal. In fact, you might be part of one of those groups!

If you’re lucky enough to be one half of a happy couple, good for you! We hope you and your significant sweetheart enjoy a romantic February 14th that’s the best one yet. But if you aren’t involved with anyone at the moment, we hope you’ll consider making exciting plans for Valentine’s Day nonetheless. After all, there are many people in our lives that love us in other ways, and celebrating that love is just as important.

While it can get fairly costly to buy flowers and a giant box of chocolates for all your family, friends and coworkers, you can treat them to heart shaped lollipops on the cheap. And unlike flowers, you don’t have to keep them watered – though they can be mouthwatering good!

Blair Candy offers several types of heart shaped lollipops. Let’s take a peek at 3 popular favorites…

Jolly Rancher Lollipops: These are a great option for kids and adults alike, with space on the wrapper for “To” and “From.” Jolly Ranchers are loved for their fabulously fruity flavor, and these don’t disappoint in Cherry, Apple, Pink Lemonade and Watermelon. With a 5-star review rating and 20 to a bag for less than $4, you can’t go wrong!

Charms Lollipops: Is there any cherry flavor so perfect as the cherry flavor from Charms? As someone who doesn’t even count cherry in her Top 3 ‘flavorites’, I choose cherry every time when it’s a Charms lollipop. Luckily, that’s exactly who makes these classic Valentine’s Day lollis, which means if I have a few extras they won’t stand a chance of getting stale!

Sweet Swirly Suckers Valentine’s Day Lollipops: These lovely lollipops are larger than most at a generous 3” x 3”! They are decorated with reusable stickers, and make for quite a presentation. If you’re a ‘sucker’ for swirled lollipops, you’re sure to love the look and terrific taste these bring. And be sure to keep one for yourself – you deserve it, darling!

Stuff Those Stockings Early for Thanksgiving!

As much as I have always loved holidays, spending quality time with friends and family from near and far, there are some holidays that can get a little bit boring for kids. Though it’s been many years since I sat at the ‘kid table’ on Thanksgiving, I still keenly remember the boredom that set in once the turkey had been put away and the pumpkin pie sliced, served and savored. The adults were tired and settled into the sofa for a nap or to watch a football game, and the kids didn’t have much to do except talk over what they hoped Santa would bring that year. And…that’s a shame. Because as much as I love Christmas, it hurts my heart to see Thanksgiving serve as a mere stepping stone to Christmas. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday all on its own! And I have a fun way to celebrate it with your little ones – and fellow adults – this year…

The Turkey Won’t Be the Only Thing Getting Stuffed…

As long as I can remember, I get most excited about stocking stuffers. I love my ‘big gifts’ as well, of course! But that oversized, Christmas sock stuffed to the brim with candy, lotions, perfume, nail polish and more is what sets my Christmas morning heart aflutter. So – why reserve that feeling to just one day a year when it can just as easily happen twice? Why, indeed!

This Thanksgiving, I’m breaking out the stockings early, and asking guests to bring theirs along as well. I’m heading out to do some shopping tonight, so I’m going to pick up a nice selection of stocking stuffers for people to gift one another. I’ll also get some goodies right here at Blair, of course. A stocking isn’t a stocking without a serious selection of candy! But it isn’t the bubble bath and Bursting Berry Blow Pops that will make these stockings extra special – it’s the notes of thanks, appreciation and love we’ll each be slipping inside them.

1.) First, I plan to ask everyone to hang their stocking, letting others know which is theirs if it isn’t obvious (my name is embroidered on mine!)

2.) Next, each person will pick one candy treat to stuff inside each stocking, and one non-candy treat as well. Once everyone has chosen one candy and non-candy treat each for everyone, the stockings should be looking pretty stuffed! But the real gift is yet to come…

3.) Lastly, I’ll ask everyone to write something thoughtful about everyone else there – one thing per person. It could be something about that person they particularly enjoy, something that person has done for them that they are thankful for, or really anything that would be nice to know or hear from someone you care about. Just like the candy and non-candy treats, these sentiments will be nestled in the stockings, adding up to paper slips far sweeter than even Pixy Stix! Once complete, we’ll all sit around together and take turns reading our slips aloud. While eating candy, naturally!

        I hope some of you will consider trying this at your home this year. Even if your plans do include spending Thanksgiving evening in line at a favorite store, don’t forget to give Thanksgiving its fair share of the spotlight. We all have things to be grateful for, big and small, and we couldn’t stuff all our blessings in a stocking if we tried.

        Celebrate The Sweetness of Love With A Sweets-Filled Anniversary

        One of our favorite quotes that always brings a smile to our faces here at Blair Candy is Sandra J. Dykes famous words: “Forget love – I’d rather fall in chocolate!” Yet, for those fortunate enough to be together after 10, 15, 25 – even 50 years of marriage, we say, why not fall in love with your partner – and with chocolate, all over again? Celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries is so special, and whether you’re surprising your loved one with a special day or you’re a friend or family member planning the festivities for that lovely couple in your life, celebrate the sweetness of love by having a sweets-filled anniversary party!

        10th / 15th Wedding Anniversaries

        The two of you grew up in the age of Teenage Mutant Turtles and Michael Jackson, so celebrate these milestone anniversary years with an echo of your youth with Candy From the 80s –Wonka Runts, Gummi Bears, and Nerds Rope. Tin is traditionally gifted on a 10th anniversary, so fill a tin with your loved one’s favorite candy and treats. Celebrating a 15th anniversary? Choose crystal, such as a pretty crystal figurine or necklace.

        25th Wedding Anniversary

        Marriage may have its ups and downs, but after 25 years of marriage, you both know your life is as everlasting as our favorite gobstoppers! You both likely remember the 1970s pretty well, with 70s Candy like Ring Pops and Charms Blow Pops being pretty fond in your memories. Silver is traditionally given as a 25th wedding anniversary gift, so choose a pretty silver box, and fill it with a Ring Pop. Then, propose to her all over again – in a fun, whimsical way that she won’t forget for the next 25 years!

        35th Wedding Anniversary

        Did you and your love grow up in the time of popping a delish Rolo in your mouth while listening to The Beatles? Gifting Candy From the 60s is a neat way to celebrate a 35th wedding anniversary. Coral is the traditional 35th wedding anniversary gift, but we have a more scrumptious variation – gift coral, but with a bag of Swedish Fish included!

        50th Wedding Anniversary

        Oscar Wilde wonderfully said “Who, being loved, is poor?”, which must explain why gifts of gold are typically given for a 50th wedding anniversary! 50th wedding anniversaries are major life achievements and should certainly be celebrated with friends and family. Set out a candy buffet that would rival any modern day candy buffet, with candy from when you both grew up, such as 50s Candy – One Hundred Grand Candy Bars, Hot Tamales, and Satellite Wafers!

        Did you just celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary, or did a lovely couple in your life just celebrate one? Tell us how you celebrated it!

        Making That Birthday Gift Box So Much Sweeter

        We’ve been making lots of candy-coated changes here at Blair Candy over the last few months, including moving soon into our brand new candy warehouse. We’ve just debuted another “new” – our Candy By Decades section on our website! We say with pride and affection that we’re pretty nuts about candy, and we’ve long been in wonderment on the different types of sweets that have blossomed from various decades over the last century. Doesn’t it just make sense that Fun Dip debuted in the same decade as when we needed a little “carefree” in our lives post-WWII?

        We found ourselves chatting with many a customer on candy gift ideas, including offering up gift suggestions that relate to the gift recipient’s birth year or the decade they grew up in, so we figured, hey, why not make it easy and create a category of candy from each decade? A great birthday gift idea is to pair candy from the decade they were born or grew up in with a small gift that fits into that decade, as well! We put our heads together and came up with some awesome ideas for you:

        • Candy From The 20s: Pair some Caramel Creams, Chiclets, and Clark Bars with Betty Boop memorabilia, a typewriter key bracelet, or a Babe Ruth figurine.
        • Candy From The 30s: Combine delish Candy Buttons, PayDay bars, and Snickers with a so retro “tick tock” cat clock, Fedora hat, or a sleek cocktail shaker.
        • Candy From The 40s: Wrap up Junior Mints, Bazooka bubble gum, and Fun Dip in a package with a vintage pin-up girl poster, WWII coin collection, and a pack of Coca-Cola in the original Coke “bottle” look.
        • Candy From The 50s: Put a bow on a gift of Candy necklaces, Dum Dum lollipops, and Satellite Wafers by pairing it with a whimsical Gumby and Pokey set, Silly Putty, and a retro apron.
        • Candy From The 60s: Reflect on one fun decade by combining a gift of Gummy Swedish Fish, Fruit Stripe Gum, and Twizzlers with a tie-dyed shirt, Beatles poster, and a space shuttle figurine.
        • Candy From The 70s: Break that disco ball out and give a gift of PopRocks, Laffy Taffy, and Bubble Yum, along with a disco ball keychain, lava lamp, or anything with “groovy” written on it!
        • Candy From The 80s: Celebrate this neon-hued decade with a gift of Gummy Bears, Runts, and Nerds, paired with a so-fun Atari video game, Pac-Man wind-up toys, and a Rubik’s cube.

        These are just a few ideas that our sugar-filled team came up with – what are some Candy By Decade candy and gift pairings that you’ve gifted or would love to gift?

        Mom & Me & Nostalgic Candy

        Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May. This year, make Mom a little nostalgic, and maybe even a little misty-eyed by putting together a “Mom and Me” scrapbook. And, to sweeten the deal, give her nostalgic candy from through the years to bring back beautiful memories!

        I think back to my childhood where I would use my allowance to go to the corner store (remember those?) and buy gummy fish and vanilla popsicles. I can still see Ziggy (yes, that was the store owner’s name) counting out the fish on the old-fashioned candy counter, and then sliding the candy from the counter into one of those tiny brown paper bags.

        Or, I would go down the block to the other corner store (yes, there were two within 200 yards of one another, on the same side of the same street), and buy Smarties pops and my favorite, marshmallow ice cream cones! That’s when soda came in 16 ounce glass bottles, when you would earn a few cents for some more penny candy when you returned the glass bottle! What are your mom’s favorite candies from her childhood? Include some of those as well. (My mom loves Squirrel Nut Zippers and Mary Janes.)

        Enough of my nostalgia. Enjoy these ideas for your scrapbook…

        Create a “Through the Years” scrapbook:

        Dedicate each page to every year of your life with mom, with pictures of the two of you together from when you were an infant to an adult, and of course, some fun captions, too.

        Or, try a “Side by Side” scrapbook with themed pages—about you on one side, and about Mom on the opposite facing page as follows:

        Find a baby picture of you and a baby picture of Mom, and cut out each face.  Create a “crib” on each page complete with a blanket, and tuck each baby into her crib!

        Include a “garden” filled with flowers (decals or pressed, dried ones) from your birth month and from hers.

        Create a page with high school or college memorabilia for each of you, and include graduation photos of each of you.

        Compare the meaning of each of your names side by side, and build each page theme around the respective meanings.

        Take a step back in time, and include prices from the year of your birth and the year of Mom’s birth for popular items such as a gallon of gas, a candy bar, a year of college tuition, a loaf of bread, etc.

        Give Mom the gift of nostalgia for a Mother’s Day neither of you will ever forget!

        Make Mouthwatering Morsels For Mom

        May means Mother’s Day, and the way to this mother’s heart is through chocolate!  As much as I love chocolate, though, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cake. But give me some vanilla cupcakes with chocolate accents, and now we’re talking!  I found this Chocolate Chip Cupcake tasty treat that can easily be adapted in all kinds of fun ways to make moms’ mouths’ water.

        Instead of chocolate chips, substitute Snocaps! (non-pareils) You’ll still get that bittersweet bite, but with an added sweet surge from the white candy micro-beads as well.

        Or, how about some sweet Sixlets, in any color of the rainbow? Take it one step further and add a splash of your mom’s favorite color with food coloring to your batter and/or icing. Imagine pale pink cupcakes with pink Sixlets in the cupcake as well as in [or on top of] the frosting.

        You will need: (for an easy alternative, see below *)

        > 3 1/4 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

        > 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder

        > 1/4 teaspoon salt

        > 7 ounce (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

        > 1 3/4 cup sugar

        > 1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk

        > 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

        > 5 large egg whites, room temperature

        > 2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Or, use nonpareils or Sixlets)

        > Chocolate Chip Icing (Or, use basic vanilla or buttercream icing, and mix in Sixlets or crushed non-pareils in place of chocolate chips)

        Directions:

        > Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

        > Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. In a separate bowl, mix milk and vanilla together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with milk mixture, and ending with dry ingredients.

        > Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into batter. Fold in chocolate chips, Sixlets, or crushed non-pareils. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

        > Bake cupcakes 22 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean. After cooling, frost with icing.  For best results, keep cupcakes in refrigerator until a few minutes before serving.

        * If you are in a hurry, hate to bake, and/or are working with children on the project, use a simple white cake boxed cake mix, but add in the non-pareils or Sixlets (and the food coloring, if you choose), and follow the baking directions on the box for cupcakes.

        Encourage Your Children to Do Their Chores with St. Patrick’s Day Candy!

        We’ve all heard of “The Luck of the Irish,” but as an Irish lady herself, I can tell you much of that ‘luck’ comes from hard work! In fact, an excerpt from one of my favorite Irish blessings gives a hint at how important hard work has historically been to the Irish – “May there always be work for your hands to do, May your purse always hold a coin or two, May the sun always shine on your windowpane, May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.”

        I can still remember a much younger me sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table sipping Ginger Ale and re-reading that blessing again and again. I didn’t realize at the time that work was a blessing unto itself, but I knew that I loved the little treats high honors on my report card brought! So I worked hard then, and I work hard now, and I’m lucky that my purse always holds a coin or two.

        While we can’t expect young children to inherently understand the value of work, the time will come when teaching them is essential. There are countless ways to encourage your children to work hard in all they do, and just as many ways to reward them for it. This isn’t to say they deserve a prize for every dish they wash, but little presents here and there are fun for everyone. After all, you probably wouldn’t show up as often for your job were it not for the paycheck!

        With St. Patrick’s Day approaching and “The Luck of the Irish” on our minds, we thought up a fun, festive way to help your kiddos cross some chores off their ‘to do’ list while earning some magical goodies!

        Step One: Choose a Few Chores to Reward – The number of chores will depend on how many they have, but let’s imagine they include Dusting, Making their Bed and Vacuuming. Jot these down in a notebook, and move to Step Two!

        Step Two: Get Ready to Channel Your Creative Side – The Irish Blessings we all know and love didn’t write themselves, and neither will yours! Don’t worry; this is designed to be fun. Think of the chore at hand and write a little 4-line blessing to give your child a clue at the prize. Let’s assume you will reward them with Green Apple Tootsie Frooties for dusting the living room. Your Irish Blessing might read: None of us like to live among dirt and dust, And this is what makes regular dusting such a must! But fret not for when you have finished your dusting duties, Your taste buds will be rewarded with Tootsie Frooties! OK, to be fair, it’s more of a poem than a blessing, but it’s close!

        Step Three: Decide How Magical You’ll Be – Now you’ll have to decide how to gift the goodies. You can always let your child know beforehand that their chores will come backed by treats this week, sharing the Blessings with them, and handing the candy out upon completion. Or, you can make it more magical, which works especially well for younger kids, but can be fun for teens as well. For the magical angle, it will be a bit like a treasure hunt. Let’s take the chore of vacuuming as an example. You can first take the vacuum from the closet and have it ready for them to use. Then, you can place the candy prize in a bag in the spot where the vacuum lives. Once they’ve finished and are ready to tuck it back into the closet, they’ll open the door to reveal their riches! Were they left there by a little Leprechaun? That’s up to you!

        Your kids can’t possibly consider work a blessing every minute of the day – no sane person can! But the truth is that it’s more than just an essential aspect of life; it’s a fulfilling one as well. And if candy can help instill that from an early age, we think that’s a pretty sweet deal. :)

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