Thursday, December 12, 2013

Animal Crackers for Christmas

or Now that makes sense.

I ran into a friend the other day while shopping. She was buying Barnum Animal Crackers and I was trying NOT to buy some Doritos. She told me that every year at Christmas, she buys a box of animal crackers for her kids since the crackers originally started as Christmas ornaments. Wow. I had never heard that. I guess that explains the string on the box.

Very curious, I went home (with a bag of Doritos) to see if this story were a piece of lore or truth. Here's what I found out. Animal crackers have a long history starting in England before the colonies were formed. After importing them for several years, they were eventually  produced here. There were various companies involved that eventually merged together to form the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). In 1902 they started to call them Barnum's Animals from Barnum and Bailey's Circus. That was the same year they had the idea of marketing them at Christmas with a colorful box and string to hang on a Christmas tree. I'm not sure how long the this campaign kept up, but the box, largely unchanged, with it's string is still around over 100 years later.

Guess what Santa is going to bring Ward, Wally, and Theodore for Christmas this year? It will be hanging on the tree waiting for them Christmas morning. A new tradition has begun.

Want to read more?

http://collectibles.about.com/od/advertisingstuff/a/blTFbarnums.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cracker

http://www.foodreference.com/html/artanimalcrack.html

12 comments:

  1. How cool is that?!

    I always bought my kids a box as a stocking stuffer, when they were little kids. But I never thought of the string as a hanging device. My kids used to save the boxes for months, pretending they were purses, suitcases, briefcases, etc.

    Thanks for the info!

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    1. I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one who hadn't heard of this. Sometimes, it feels like the whole world knows things that I've never heard of since I am not as plugged in as much as some. Those are great boxes. Do you remember when the wheels folded down and looked like real wheels?

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  2. I didn't know that, either! I loved those crackers and the boxes when I was little. My mom didn't allow whining for "stuff" when we were shopping. She says that I used to say, "Mommy, I wonder where the animal crackers are this week?" when we would go grocery shopping. My mom thought that was cute and would buy them for me. So the moral of the story is that I learned to avoid whining and instead manipulate???

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    1. That's funny. You were quite the precocious little girl.

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  3. Ha, I've just read about this tradition in the magazine like two days ago :)

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  4. You'll have to share your boys' reaction to the new tradition. :-)

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    1. It will be interesting. But they are used to the Christmas tree being filled with ornaments that have a story behind them.

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  5. That's so neat! lol!! I love animal cookies.. yummy!! :)

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    1. I love them too, especially this brand. I had to get an extra box for me to have now because I couldn't wait until Christmas. :)

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  6. My sister and I always got these in our Christmas stockings when we were growing up (in the '60's). I don't remember them ever hanging on the tree, but we would save the boxes and, like Lili, use them for months (or years!) afterwards. And we would always fold the wheels down! I think you had to cut the bottom of the box to fold them down, but maybe I am not remembering that part right. I had forgotten about this with my own kids... maybe I can find some this year!

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    1. I used to put these in my kids stockings, but forgot about it over the years. But not this year. :)

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