Here's How Mint Became Associated With The Holidays

Mint can bring out some strong feelings in folks. Online forums like Reddit are dedicated to people's disdain for this flavor that is popular in food, desserts, beverages, chewing gum, and breath mints. One BuzzFeed writer asks why anyone would eat something — in this case, mint chocolate chip ice cream — that tasted like "frozen toothpaste." Per Vox, if your first thought when you think of this flavor is "refreshing" or "fresh smelling," then advertisers and marketers for oral hygiene have done their job well. And there is also a time of the year that has done an equally impressive job of making us associate this herb derived flavor with it, and that's the holiday season. But have you ever wondered how that minty flavor we brush our teeth with turned into one that is synonymous with the holidays?

Per Food Timeline, mint has been used for a variety of purposes — mainly for digestion and mouth-freshening — since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It has also been used to flavor various types of food. Candies flavored with mint date back to the Renaissance, because people had wide access to sugar, according to Food Timeline. Mint wasn't added to chocolate candies until the 1850s. But according to CBS News, mint and the holidays wouldn't become a tradition for another 80 years.

The candy cane made mint a holiday thing

The association between mint and the holiday season is largely due to the candy cane, per While there are plenty of stories you may read to the kiddos about the history of this sugary treat that even Prince George and Princess Charlotte have been seen enjoying (via, its exact origins are up for debate. That said, a man from Georgia named Bob McCormack and his brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, are the real reason we think about these red, white, and minty candies when December approaches. 

According to, McCormack initially made his candy canes by hand, but his brother-in-law, who was a priest, designed a machine that could automate their production, making the twisting and cutting much easier and faster, and giving this minty candy its iconic shape. As Epicurious notes, while we may not know exactly how the candy cane was born, we do know that it was Bobs Candies that commercialized it and made this minty creation a holiday tradition.