The first thing my brother and I did every year when we got up on Christmas morning was head right for our stockings. The rule was that we could play with (or eat) anything we found in our stockings, but we had to wait until Mom and Dad came downstairs before we could unwrap the presents under the tree.
They knew we could quietly amuse ourselves with the contents of the stockings for at least an hour or two and they would get to sleep in. Meanwhile, we would turn on the television and watch whatever we found first. One year while we had HBO, I remember watching the Emmett Otter and Red Skelton specials before our parents got up.
My stocking usually contained a few pieces of wrapped Christmas candy. There would be a chocolate Santa and some of those bells that were light green white chocolate on top and milk chocolate on the bottom. There would be a small box of crayons or colored pencils and coloring book with one of my (many) favorite character properties. There would also be some small figures or maybe a doll accessory of some kind. Finally, there were the Lipsmackers.
Lipsmackers were also a go-to when I needed presents for other pre-teen girls. They worked well for Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges as well as for birthdays throughout the year. All I needed was a small decorative basket, a package of barrettes or scrunchies, and a bottle of Bath and Body Works lotion (Sun-Ripened Raspberry or Cucumber Melon were popular scents back in the day). Then I would just tie a fancy ribbon into a bow around the basket and I would have a gift package that would please most females above the age of ten.
These are my favorite Bonne Bell Lipsmacker flavors:
1. Dr. Pepper
This was just like the soda pop complete with the soft drink’s branding on the package. The Lipsmacker tube was burgundy with white lettering, just as it would be on the bottle label or on a can.
Fruit flavors were another time-tested standby. I may have had my Strawberry Shortcake dolls put away at that time, but I still liked the scent of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. They were just in my personal care items instead of toys.
3. Cotton Candy
Cotton candy was a special thing back then. It was something you got at a fair or carnival or the circus. It was also usually associated with summertime and warm weather activities, so finding this in the Christmas stocking was a like finding the Fourth of July under the Christmas tree. I would just have to wait another week for the fireworks.
Watermelon was another flavor that was heavily linked to memories of the warmer weather months. It also went really well with the aforementioned cucumber melon lotion from Bath and Body Works. It was a sweet but clean scent.
Vanilla gets a really bad rap and it’s more than a little unfair, in my opinion. Vanilla is seen by some as “boring” or “basic”, but its subtle sweetness usually brings out the best in other flavors. Vanilla extract in the batter is often mentioned as a “secret” ingredient in recipes for pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
I choose to look at vanilla ice cream as a base or blank canvas for a dessert masterpiece. The possibilities are endless: any flavor of syrup, fresh fruit or a fruit compote, nuts, or pieces of candy. You can even put it in a glass and pour any kind of cola or other soda over it.
I forgot to put vanilla syrup in my homemade pumpkin spice latte once and when I took my first sip, I realized something was missing within a few sips and poured a little bit of vanilla syrup into the coffee and it tasted slightly better. Not as good as it would have tasted if I had remembered to put it in the milk before I frothed it, but good enough.
I hope you enjoyed this look at one of my favorite small gifts to both give and receive, especially at Christmastime. The cold winter air meant the lip moisturizing function was even more important than the cosmetic purpose, but Lipsmackers were a lot more fun to use than either Chapstick or Carmex.