NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- That fruitcake on the table and those candy canes on the tree may hang around your house until next year, but there's an entire red-and-green economy driven by these staples each holiday season.
According to the National Retail Federation, 91% of U.S. consumers put food and candy in their holiday budget -- allocating an average $95 to their mix of stocking stuffers and stuffing. Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce notes that food store sales last December outpaced the previous month's sales by more than 10%.
Holiday goodies have fattened in similar fashion this year, as November grocery sales rose nearly 1% since October (and more than 3% since last November). With grocery sales growing 2.2% year-to-date, there's more than enough room on the plate for the glut of holiday goods soaking up shelf space days after the all-Christmas radio station switched back to easy listening.
TheStreet took a look at five holiday favorites that may be in the discount aisle as you read this, but spur just as many sales as New Year's resolutions:
Ubiquitous and seemingly inexhaustible during the holiday season, candy canes are the holiday guest most likely to overstay their welcome. Why? Because they never stop coming.
It's possible to get this dessert/dwelling after the holiday season, but what's the point? The frosting makes a great snow, the nonpareils make nice snow-sprinkled shingles and gingerbread gets tougher to swallow as temperatures rise.
Fruitcake is to the holiday joke book what New Jersey is to late-night monologues: a frequent and often unfairly targeted punching bag for bad comedians in need of a comic crutch. Think the fruitcake is a dated, inedible holiday relic? You're in worse company than a Jersey critic at a Springsteen concert.
As a Claxton representative told us, "If that many people are buying them, someone has to be eating them." Damn right.