The Friday Fiver: Christmas Candy!

Yes, I’m going to keep doing Friday Fivers. It’s really exciting.

This is the first Friday Fiver of the 2011 Christmas season, the seventh Friday Fiver in total, and a “Part 2” to last year’s Christmas Candy in Similar Boxes. I wanted to make this as confusing as possible.

This year, several new sweets have joined the fray in the great battle for plush sock real estate. These aren’t merely “boxes of candy” — they’re stocking stuffers, and the rules are as follows:

1. The candy must have some thematic tie to the holiday season. It can be as extravagant as snowmen shapes, or as simple as excluding all of the Skittles that aren’t red or green.

2. The candy must come in a box that inspires you to create googly-eyed Christmas creatures out of walnut shells.

3. That same box must also include an inbuilt “to and from” tag, to further the stocking stuffingness.

If the candy meets all or most of this criterion, it’s safe for socks.

Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes: I shouldn’t be starting with this. It’s my favorite of the bunch, and I’m only going to become less excited from here. But, there’s a bright side in this. In my struggle to define the phenomenon, I’ve learned the word “decrescendo.”

If I was three inches tall, those red and green cubes would be incredibly fun to build a fort out of. “Castle Matt,” because when your castle is candy, it doesn’t need an impressive name. For me and mine, it’d be rations and shelter, all at once, like a tent made of bacon.

Warheads are supposed to be obnoxiously sour (or hot, if you prefer), but these holiday cubes have been toned down to a level that is in no way capable of killing mules. You’ll pucker, but you won’t fake-cough.

The box itself has a few points of interest.

First, that red and green background is mesmerizing almost to the point of being painful, and if you stare at it long enough, you explode.

Also, the familiar Warheads logo of “that guy” has had his usual “steaming head” modified into a Santa hat. I enjoy that. I enjoy that more than writing “I enjoy that” conveys. Let’s up the ante by one shift key. I ENJOY THAT. Now I just sound crazy.

Skittles Holiday Mix: This is quality. It’s Christmassy, and it totally eradicates any chance of accidentally eating ugly grape Skittles.

Let’s talk about that one Skittle up there. The crushed one. I know you see it. It’s all you can see.

For ease of flow, let’s call that Skittle “Sam.”

Sam came out of the box that way. I won’t pretend that I’ve never received a malformed Skittle before, but Sam pushes it. He’s absolutely destroyed. The damage is too severe to blame on any normal assembly line mishap. The truth, whatever it is, must be darker.

Not since the universe at large has the origin story of anything fascinated me like this. I need to know how Sam became this way. An amoral chew? An accidental sneaker step? I’m Nicholas Cage in 8MM, and this Skittle is the girl Machine stabbed to death.

I won’t let you down, Sam. The world will know your story. Those responsible will pay.

SweeTarts Merry Mix: Given the admirable production values, it’s unfortunate that I dislike SweeTarts. Maybe it’s the pale colors. I look at these candies and think “medicine or stale,” even if it’s completely unfair of me to do so. The truth is, if I want to avenge Sam, I have to stop playing fair.

Actually, they smell much like Flintstones vitamins, and taste sort of like ’em too. In shapes ranging from holiday bells to fat snowmen, I cannot deny their ability to make November 11th feel like December 25th.

As a lump sum, Wonka identifies these as a “Merry Mix.” But that’s just Wonka turning Christmas candy into an Easter egg. Held upside down, “Merry Mix” becomes “Xim Yrrem,” an old Yiddish phrase meaning “fish now, before they swim away.” Wonka, that eternal momzer.

Frosty Chewy Lemonhead & Friends: …sounds more like a cartoon than a candy, which is appropriate, because the characters on that box are too adorable to go without their own hit series.

Look at those cute fruit-with-feet. Lemonhead is joined by Applehead and Cherryhead, and they’re all wearing Santa hats and smiles. Reserved smiles, mind you. These are the only anthropomorphic fruit who prefer to behave. Gah, why can’t this be a cartoon? I want to see these guys out in an animated storm, having the most polite snowball fight ever.

The candy itself is good. Think jellybeans, but tougher. Meaner.

Frosty Nerds: I try to avoid writing about the same things twice, even if the original review is buried so deep in the archives that nobody who found X-E within the last seven years has seen it. As such, with today’s candies, I strove to locate varieties that I haven’t already babbled about. I largely succeeded, but this is probably the 50th time I’ve covered Frosty Nerds.

And why not? They’re great Nerds. Red, white and green Nerds. They’re Christmassy Italian nerds. So am I.

Let’s say I’m a kid, and my interest in today’s candies has more to do with private enjoyment than public blogging. In that case, I’d pick Frosty Nerds over every other option. Even the fort brick Warheads. You can never go wrong with Nerds.

I can’t come up with any strong way to end this review.

“See ya?”

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81 Responses to The Friday Fiver: Christmas Candy!

  1. starwenn says:

    My thumbs-up goes to the Sweet-Tarts and the Nerds, which are pretty much the only ones I’d actually eat. They’re just enough sweet and sour to be satisfying without killing my teeth, plus the packaging has some of the most interesting holiday colors ever.

    Honorable mention to the Lemonhead and Friends box for the adorable characters on the package. I hate sour candies and probably wouldn’t eat them, but as several people mentioned, the little fruit are cute enough to rate their own cartoon.

  2. Church says:

    Oh how I love thee, Friday Fiver!

    My fav is the Warheads because the artists turned the mushroom cloud into a Santa hat…awesome! I want to go crazy with Christmas spirit but my son’s not feeling too well and is crying a lot so I’m worn down. Keep it up, Matt…you’re the Christmas fuel that’s helping me push through my tiredness!

  3. kb says:

    I was at Target the other day looking over all this candy. I ended up buying some… a lot. Somehow none of these. I was in a chocolate mood.

    Also, as though you are all not sick of me talking about it yet, I’m being induced on Tuesday if my stubborn little girl doesn’t come sooner. The end is near!

  4. Chris says:

    This is only the second time I’ve ever commented on an X-E article in several years of reading it, specifically because I feel the need to say that the bells in the Sweettarts mix are exact copies of the Taco Bell logo.

  5. pureval says:

    I am so happy. Today at Target I found Cadbury Christmas candies. They are like the Mini Eggs from Easter, but for Christmas. I bought 2 bags immediately and hope their stock survives until I have some extra cash to load up.

  6. really_rather_not_nice says:

    WHY is the rainbow on the Skittle’s box an actual rainbow, when none of those flavors are present? Shouldn’t it be a red and green rainbow?


  7. really_rather_not_nice says:

    Oh… nevermind. I see now, the FLAVORS are present… just not the proper colors. Pheh.

  8. Hoverbored says:

    I just watched the Green Lantern premiere on Cartoon Network. Not bad! I’m about to go return a Redbox movie, but I’ll catch up on posts when I get back.

    So the Christmas Skittles have the same flavors in two colors? That’d taste kinda weird. Kinda like those white Mystery flavors that had a few years ago.

  9. Teddy Ray says:



    Oh yeah, I forgot. Nobody cares.

    I’ve been MIA here for most, if not all, of the year. For someone who has no life, life managed to get in my way. But I went back and read the Halloween Countdown (excellent job, by the way, Matt) and I’m super excited to be spending this time of the year with you fine people. From what I can tell, all of my favorite misfit toys are still hanging around. Yes, I’m talking about YOU. Yes, YOU, too. You all know who you are. How could I have stayed away from my freaks for so long? Good night, friends. Teddy Ray has returned.

  10. randombob says:

    matt, you know me so well, Sam was all I saw in the first picture, and I want to know his story!

  11. Hoverbored says:

    Invader Norbert- Have you noticed that McDonald’s has been advertising the McRib as part of their holiday promotion? I’ve heard of unusual holiday traditions, but the McRib as Christmas food is a stretch.

    Great to hear from Teddy Ray! I just watched Home Alone free on-demand. When I switched to regular TV, they were showing Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie.

  12. DJ D says:

    I was bummed about Sam until I saw the Sweet Tarts Merry Mix. I’ll have to respectfully disagree with Matt on this one. Those things look great to me. I’ve always been a Sweet Tarts fan anyway. I love sweets and I love tarts. However, I don’t care for tweets or farts.

    I can’t wait to get news of kb‘s induction (is that even the right word?). I’m so jazzed about the new additions to X-E 2.0!

  13. Astro Zombie says:

    Hey everybody. I haven’t had much time to comment here in the past couple of days and am working at getting caught. A little while ago I saw a French movie called Rose of Iron on TCM. (Have you seen this one before, Jugendsehnsucht or DJ D?)

    I’m not ready to jump on the Christmas bandwagon yet, but I don’t object to X-E starting it up. If Matt’s into it and has enough material to cover till then, I’m on board.

    “First, that red and green background is mesmerizing almost to the point of being painful, and if you stare at it long enough, you explode.” —Matt

    “Try scrolling up and down while looking at it. WHOA.”Jugendsenhnsucht

    I didn’t think I’d be the only one to notice that. It looks kind of like it’s flashing if you zoom in really close and scroll up and down.

    I also wanted to respond to you from a few threads back. I consider it to be highly complementary when you said my track “Tape Curses/Vozrozhdeniya” sounded like something recorded in 1980. I like the raw, old retro sound—provided it doesn’t get too muddy, tinny, or obscured by too much tape hiss—and worked quite a bit to develop it. (It’s ironic that I have the ability to music that sounds pristine and hi-fi, yet I want it to be dirty and primitive-sounding. I don’t think I should reveal the secret of how I got it, for it would probably shatter all illusions.)

    I haven’t seen Buio Omega, but I’m glad to hear that it goes along with something unsettling—that’s probably the mood of it. I think I’ve got some more work to do with that track, and I’ve got to come up with its companion piece. I’ve been generating lots of ideas recently, though I have a hard time figuring out how to bring them to completion. I could probably go on and on with talk about music production, but that’s probably a discussion we should take somewhere else. (Incidentally, I uploaded a new track late Thursday night. It’s more pleasant-sounding ambient kind of stuff.)

    DJ D: Thanks for your kind and complementary words about my track. I’m also glad to hear your family’s Facebook drama didn’t wreck your birthday. At least nobody wanted to beat you up. I almost got in fistfight over damned Myspace—remember Myspace?—back in its day.

    As for my forays into noise, I’ve been at it since…geez, 2000. I played two shows back in 2000. It was heavily computer-processed noise à la Merzbow. I don’t really have much to show for all that though, because I haven’t actually gotten anything released. Most of what I have is half-baked or I abandoned it because I thought it was crap. But I realized how much time has passed without anything significant happening, so I’m pushing myself to get something out there—even if it’s total crap.

  14. King JLA says:

    Goob: I’ve never seen the Reeses one, but I’ve definitely seen the 5 pound Hershey Bar. I’ve always wondered who bought that.

  15. The only one of these I’ve had is Frosty Nerds. I’d like to get those Lemonhead & Friends though. I used to eat Lemonheads as a kid until my mouth was raw from all the tart. Never had Applehead, Grapehead, etc. (sounds somewhat “dirty” typing it out) but always wanted to.

  16. Teddy Ray, you are probably not going to believe this, but just last night on my bus ride home, I was wondering if you were ever going to come back here.

    I was thinking about all the people who’ve vanished from XE (and a few other places I haunt) over the years. I’m afraid to name the others now, in case my amazing psychic powers cause them to drop what they’re doing and come here. What if they’re doing something important, like performing surgery?

    I feel so psychically strong right now, I’m confident that I can get Ian Anderson to come to my house and seduce me if I just concentrate on envisioning that. Come and get me, Ian.

  17. Goob says:

    Invader Norbert That has a Chia Plot thing going on. Remember that? Oh feels so long ago lol

    Teddy Ray Welcome back!! I am glad your health is better. I am assuming it’s better.

    Rev. Seems the second I start thinking about someone and missing them they come back. Sometimes it’s disappointing lol. Some people are better in memories.

  18. Scott says:

    Skittles and Nerds are by far my favorite.

    @REV,the protective part of me wants to say be careful with your psychic powers. You don’t want just some random crazy weirdo to show up instead of Ian.

  19. Aw, come on, Scott. What are the chances of a crazy person showing up in my life?


  20. Bill says:

    Alright! Teddy has returned! Welcome back prodigal son.

    Man, I had to get up at 0545 this morning to buy a $350 ottoman in Nowhere, North Carolina. If it wasn’t for sex, beer and rock’n’roll, I would think adult life sucks.
    Off to but chewy Warheads.

  21. Really good to see everyone slowly coming back! Christmas has that effect, I guess.

    It just seems too early for Christmas stuff for me. But I got a feeling I’ll get over it soon.

    And Goob, you’re right, it IS more like the Chia Plot. I miss that.

  22. Tiny Terracotta Terror says:

    I know! Those Cadbury eggs are the best candy ever in the universe of all candy-time knowledge and splendor, and I’m amazed it took them so long to come out with an Easter version.

  23. Tiny Terracotta Terror says:


  24. drew do says:

    Welcome back Teddy! I was wondering if you were still around.

    I finally stopped resisting and explored the Christmas aisle today, it was great! We also bought all our Thanksgiving food which is AWESOME!!!

  25. Matt.. just read this.. sorry to be the barer of bad news:

    –Really sad news that James Harris, the original Kamala from the 80s, just underwent surgery to have his foot removed due to complications from high blood pressure and diabetes.

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