A True Christmas Lifesaver – The Life Savers Sweet Storybook

Growing up, there were a few items I knew I would always get in my stocking at Christmas:

  • A pair of cute, kitschy holiday socks (cats wearing Santa hats come to mind).
  • During my teen years, I would get several cans of hairspray — thanks Santa!  A girl can’t have too much AquaNet.
  • A chocolate Santa that I was allowed to eat before breakfast.

All of these holiday treats were awesome, but no 80s Christmas stocking would be complete without this puppy. Every year, without fail, I received the sweetest gift of all: a book of Life Savers called the Sweet Storybook.  That bulky, rectangular book of sweet goodness was wrapped by Santa Claus and shoved deep down into the toe of my stocking each and every year.

Sweet Storybook by Lifesaver

Photo credit: www.retroist.com

sweet-storybook-todayThis book full of candy and breath mints remains a Christmas tradition in my family, and it’s been around forever! In the ‘80s, the Lifesaver book was jam packed full of more lifesaving goodness than the storybooks of today. Back in the day, we got ten – count ‘em TEN individual rolls of the good stuff compared to today’s Cliff’s Notes version, which contains a measly six little rolls (see today’s version to the right).

I was a Butter Rum and a Wild Cherry kind of girl.  I also loved the classic Five Flavor pack (especially that pineapple flavor). My brother and I loved experimenting with the PepOMint flavor to determine if it would really make a spark when you bite it in the dark.  Not tried that one yet?  Put it on your short list.

Pepomint Life Savers

If my brother and I were sharing a roll, it was always either exciting or disappointing to see what flavor came up next once you popped one out! Exciting: red, disappointing: green (don’t misunderstand, I still ate it, I was just a little less excited about the prospect). And if all that sweet lifesaving goodness weren’t enough, the ten rolls of candy included a story inside the book, like Frosty or a short story about making Christmas bright or decorating the tree.  Truly the gift that keeps on giving.

But wait, there’s more.  For some reason my parents didn’t really think of Life Savers as candy. So I was allowed to keep my storybook in my room and munch away a roll at a time while gabbing on the phone or pretending to do homework.  And munch away I did; it’s pretty amazing how quickly I could tear through 10 packs.  Well, except the WintOGreen; that flavor would float around the bottom of my new Liz Claiborne purse until the next Christmas.

There are knock-off versions of the book that started it all, but Skittles and Starburst just can’t tell a story the way the original does.

Today, I am keeping the Sweet Storybook tradition alive for my two boys, even though it is a watered-down version of the Storybook in the 80s. Even so, they get one in their stocking. And, like my mom before me, I allow them to take it up to their room.  A sweet Christmas indeed.

Which was your favorite roll?  Post it in the comments below.

Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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  1. Brings back great Christmas memories, I had an aunt who gave me one of these every year. My favorite was Butter Rum. By the way, I was actually wondering why they don’t make a candy cane flavored Life Saver (basically small, round, candy canes) and I found out the product did actually exist but has been discontinued. Unfortunately, I never got to try one of these…

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  2. Was just having a conversation about the down sizing of the original Christmas story books. My son is now 42 and I still get him one for his stocking, like it was said above they may not be the same size but the memory size is still the same. I know he would be crushed if they were not there for him Christmas morning.

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  3. A friend just emailed me to say she always loved receiving the Sweet Storybook from my family each Christmas and I had to Google it if for just one reason… The tree in the center was our family tree – ornaments and all. My dad was a graphic designer at Lifesavers/Squibb back in the 1970s & 80s and he used our tree for the center photo. Thanks for the walk down memory lane and Merry Christmas.

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  4. I have bought Life Saver storybooks for my kids and grandkids for years and they looked forward to getting them. As of now I would be needing a dozen of them. Unfortunately, I can’t find them anywhere. The last ones I had to buy were Jolly Ranchers, they were good, but just not the same. It had gotten to be a tradition for them and me. Really miss them.

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