Bring the Candy Dish Back at Home!

Brass candy dish with three dishes and raised hand that serves as its handle

Maybe it was an aunt, a grandmother or if you were lucky your mother — and not just around holidays. Ah, the candy dish filled with candy. It’s a magical thing. What happened to us all that we’ve become people who live without candy here and there in our homes?

This red and white striped candy dish looks like a peppermint candy in a wrapper
This candy dish is speaking to us and it’s saying, Would you like a mint? (Peppermint Red Wrapper Candy Dish by Godinger)

We love candy at the office

Chances are if you work in an office with more than a couple people, there is a candy dish or jar somewhere. Office workers everywhere are passionate about their office candy dish and the related politics around it. The Washington Post even conducted research about it in its brilliant article, “Why few people dare to eat the boss’s M&M’s.” Candy sure makes work sweeter. Imagine what magic a oft-filled candy dish or two or three can do in your home!

Glass candy dish that resembles a Ziploc bag filled with jelly beans
We love this glass candy dish that looks like a Ziploc baggie. It’s so humble and stylish! (Glass Zipper Bag by American Metalcraft)

Childhood is sweeter with candy

Growing up, it was my Aunt Esther who had multiple candy dishes that were always kept well stocked with yummy things like Swedish Fish, Brach’s hard candy wrapped in cellophane, candy orange slices. For Elizabeth, the candy dish in her childhood home was holidays only, though her mom had an always-replenished secret stash of M&M’s hidden somewhere and likely still does.

A footed candy dish is classic
A footed candy dish is classic, like the international symbol for “fill this thing with candy!” (Lismore pattern candy dish by Waterford Crystal)

My Aunt Esther placed her candy dishes on tabletops throughout her living room. That made it eye level for me as a child. I can still see the cut glass dishes — some covered for the element of surprise, some wide open for the taking — with brightly colored sweets beckoning their not-forbidden status.

Lobmeyr's spherical footed candy dishes with lids are still iconic - designed in 1925
Lobmeyr’s spherical footed candy dishes, designed in 1925, with lids are still iconic.

We’re not sure why candy dishes at home are relegated to being common childhood memory, and not an everyday thing any more. It does seem like their heyday has sadly passed, though. There sure are a lot of antique ones out there, as they’ve been around for ages. According to Collectors Weekly the “concept of confection or candy dishes probably had its start with the 18th-century European aristocracy, who liked to indulge in palate-cleansing desserts after their overly spiced meals.”

Handcut crystal bonbonniere with a lid is a Georgian reproduction
This very trad handcut crystal bonbonniere is a Georgian reproduction. (Eugenie Bonbonniere by William Yeoward)

Yes, you can decorate with candy!

What’s also awesome about candy dishes, candy jars and bonbonnieres is they provide a way to decorate with candy! Line up apothecary jars on a shelf, add a stemmed one to a tabletop as a centerpiece, or place a candy dish or bowl on a coffee table. So much fun!

Vintage glass elephant candy dish with lid
An elephant never forgets your candy needs! (Vintage elephant candy dish with lid, available on Chairish)
Steuben glass candy dish with two handles, sold in a 2018 auction at Skinner.
Tell yourself that you’re an American art glass aficionado as you take a handful of chocolates! (Steuben candy dish, Skinner auction house)
Brass candy dish with three dishes and raised hand that serves as its handle
The raised hand on this candy dish is like it’s saying, “Hello, I’m over here with the candy, folks” (Eve Bon Bon Dish from Jonathan Adler)


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