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The Christmas Cracker Tradition

Updated on June 19, 2019
Hilary242 profile image

I am an Itinerant Music Teacher,teaching people how to play flute,recorder,piano, keyboards using a variety of music to suit student needs.

What Are Christmas Crackers?

Christmas Crackers are a tradition at Christmas Time around the Dinner Table

They can be bought or handmade.

They are made from twisted coloured paper, cardboard tubing for the inside and a long narrow strip of chemically impregnated paper, which makes a noise when pulled apart.

There are optional ingredients for the inside, which can consist of:

A coloured hat

Small toy or gift

Joke :

These jokes are usually really bad but you just have to laugh at them....afterall..your Christmas Festivities wouldn't be the same without them


Learn How To Make Christmas Crackers Here



snaps ~ get from craft shops

coloured paper ~ Christmas paper works well for these

cardboard tubing or use the inside cardboard of a toilet roll - you will need double the amount of rolls to the number of group members

ribbons or ties to twist the ends together

the gifts eg chocolates, pens, pencils, rubbers, ballons anything small you can fit inside the cardboard tubing,as cheap or expensive as you like

NB Quantities of the above will vary depending on group size


1. Measure out the Coloured Paper:

Get the width by:

~ placing the roll of cardboard along 1 edge

~ marking around 8 cm extra paper on edge side

~ draw an upwards for at least the length ...just guess at this stage. You can always add extra length after the length is determined

Get the length by:

~ rolling the paper over the roll of cardboard such that there is about 2cm overlap

~ ruling a line along the length

You should now have a marked rectangle

2. Cut out the rectangle.

3. Cut half the number of cardboard rolls in half.

4. Glue over the middle section of the rectangle of coloured paper the length of the cardboard roll.

5. Place 1 full length cardboard roll along the width edge in the middle of the rectangle of coloured paper and press to stick.

6. Place a half length coloured roll on each side of the full length cardboard roll leaving a gap of 1 cm.

7. Roll the coloured paper over the cardboard rolls sticking the coloured paper in the centre to the middle cardboard roll.

8. Glue and stick the width ends of the coloured paper together

9. Place the long length of cardboard snap through the complete length of the cardboard rolls covered in coloured paper.

10. Tie a small length of coloured tie over one end between the half cardboard roll and full length cardboard roll. Make a knot and then curl the ends by pulling over a sharpish edge like scissors. If you are using ribbon make a bow.

11. Place hat, joker motto or puzzle and gift inside the full cardboard roll.

12. Tie up the other end in-between the half piece and full piece of cardboard roll with a knot and curl as done in part 9 above.

13. You can remove the cardboard roll from each end of the cracker if you like.

14. Repeat until all Christmas Crackers are created.

15. Voila ~ Christmas Crackers!!!

Home Made Christmas Crackers
Home Made Christmas Crackers

Homemade Christmas Crackers

Do You Make Your Own Christmas Crackers?

See results

How Does The Christmas Cracker Work?

Two people take an end each making sure they hold on to the snap.

Then they pull away from the middle.

The person with the largest amount of cracker in their hands is the winner.

The winner can then wear the Christmas Hat, tell the joke at the Christmas dinner and keep the gift.

Alternatively the group of people around the dinner table can cross arms and hold onto the end of a Christmas Cracker with the person next to them. Then they can all pull the cracker towards them breaking the cracker and producing a pop when the snap breaks.

Families can choose how the insides are the person who has the biggest portion of cracker left gets it ...or everyone just gets one lot of insides from the 2 crackers they are popping.

Take A Look At An English Christmas Cracker Factory

How Did The Christmas Cracker Originate?

A person named Thomas Smith created the Christmas Cracker in 1846. Thomas owned a wedding cake ornament and confectionery business.

He got the inspiration to create the Christmas Cracker from the a trip to Paris when he discovered a sugar almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper called ‘a Bob-Bon’.

He decided to bring the bon – bon idea back to London to sell during Christmas.

As sales slumped after Christmas in January he needed to stimulate sales somehow.

He developed the bon-bon idea by:

- putting a love motto on the tissue paper

- adding a ‘crackle’ feature stimulated by the sound of a log he threw into a fire

- accommodating the crackle feature – which was a ‘pop’ sound when the wrapping was broken – in a bigger size keeping the shape and motto the same

- and creating the cracker initially called Coasques

He then:

- added a surprise gift

- marketed it abroad with one manufacturer copying idea and delivering crackers for sale in England at Christmas

- created more designs for distribution at Christmas

After his death his three sons developed the idea further:

- lover verses to mottos to puzzles to corny jokes

- addition of paper hats

- added a variety of different gift ideas

And hence the cracker as we know it today.


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    • Hilary242 profile imageAUTHOR

      Hilary Daglish 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you. And I will!!


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