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.
This 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.
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.