According the National Confectioners Association, candy and chocolate have always played a starring role in our family holiday traditions -- exchanging decadent boxes of chocolate, placing candy canes on the Christmas tree, hiding sweet treats in stockings and spinning the dreidel for chocolate pieces. The National Retail Federation reports the average consumer spends about $90 on candy and other seasonal foods for the holidays, roughly 13 percent of their overall seasonal spending.

"Holiday traditions are the cornerstone of celebrations this month and candy has a treasured place in many of our festivities," says Susan Whiteside, vice president of communications for the National Confectioners Association. "The combination of its affordable price point and its ability to add a little sweetness to our lives makes candy an alluring seasonal purchase."

Even during times of economic decline, shoppers are still likely to purchase confectionery because of its traditional role in holiday customs. NCA expects confectionery sales this holiday season will increase between 2 and 3 percent. That's in keeping with overall seasonal performance which is expected to increase 2.8 percent according to NRF.

"Candy has a unique role in holiday celebrations because of its popularity across a variety of seasonal activities," Whiteside adds. "This month we'll use candy in many ways, from decorating our homes to baking sweet treats and from tucking little candies into advent calendars for children to giving traditional boxes of chocolates to loved ones and business colleagues."