They are a staple of the Christmas table and have been with us since the middle of the 19th century. Christmas crackers are a feature of almost every festive meal and have the potential to put some real crackle into the occasion. Sadly most people default to a box of the pre-made variety missing the opportunity to add a surprise element to proceedings. Making crackers is easy and you can add personalised gifts and special treats that you just won’t find in the selection box. Here’s how to jazz up your festive season and delight your guests.
Making The Cracker
Source some good quality paper for the outside of your crackers. Look for colours and designs that fit with your general theme for the table. You can use the same paper for every cracker or ring the changes with a variety of looks. Cut your paper into a rectangle approximately 30cm x 20cm and score a line of perforations 10cms in from the shorter edges. A perforating tool can be purchased cheaply from many craft shops.
Attach a cracker snap close to the top of one of the longer edges with a couple of blobs of glue then structure the cracker by rolling it a round a cardboard cylinder. You can make the cylinder with card from a cereal packet. Glue the paper neatly down and then scrunch the cracker at one end where you have formed the perforations. Tie here with pretty ribbon. The cracker is then ready for your surprise contents.
When each cracker has been filled scrunch and tie the other end in the same way. You might want to use further cardboard cylinders to structure the end sections. For an extra flourish decorate the outside with motifs, beads, decals, glitter or anything that you fancy.
Your contents will depend on your budget. Looking up and writing your own jokes or amusing stories costs nothing. You can ignore the novelty hats if you wish and place some on the dinner plates instead. If funds are limited simply insert inexpensive but interesting items which suit each individual like mini torches, small tools, makeup brushes, cosmetics and puzzles.
If your budget is more generous then the sky is the limit. Anything small enough to fit in the cracker can be included and it is a great way of concealing a major gift. My parents were fond of this kind of trick. They would leave several presents under the tree and then just when I thought I had received all of my gifts the main event would appear later somewhere else!
Jewellery and watches are a great choice as they are small in size but make for a dramatic gesture. You could even conceal mini electronics like MP3 players, mobile phones and smartwatches. Gift cards are a lovely idea and you can spice things up with lottery tickets which cost little but give all you guests a chance to win a fortune.
Great crackers can really spice up the Christmas meal. Don’t just buy a box full of bad jokes, uninteresting hats and plastic trinkets. Make your own and give everyone a lovely surprise with their meal.
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.