Now I know that some of you may not know exactly what a Christmas cracker is or what it does, but let me start out by assuring you that it is not something that you can spread cheese on and eat! Well, you could, but you might regret it a short while after....
Perhaps not as well known in the United States. , The humble Christmas cracker has been a staple ingredient in every household in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia since time immemorial. They are loved by children and adults alike and are always the first part of the traditional Christmas dinner every year.
They are basically a party favor, a small cylindrical cardboard tube, wrapped in festive paper and filled with a small prize, a paper hat and usually an awful joke. There is a long, thin peice of paper that runs through the cracker that, when broken, produces a loud snapping sound, or "crack"-hence the name. The idea is that you hold one end and offer the other to someone else at the table and then proceed to play a mini "tug-of-war" with each other, until the cracker "cracks" in two.
How to make Christmas Crackers
It is easy, quick and fun to make your very own Christmas crackers, and kids absolutely love it! All you need is a few toilet rolls, some fancy Christmas paper, a roll of ribbon, glue and some prizes to go inside. Even the snappers can be bought over the internet if you aren't able to find them at your local arts and crafts store. I have found a great website called Old English Crackers.com, which is an entire website devoted to the humble Christmas Cracker and all the information you need on how to make Christmas crackers this year. They even sell all the materials you will need to bring gasps of surprise from your guests this season as they take their seats at the dinner table.
Traditionally, you get to choose whom you pull the cracker with and whoever ends up with the larger half after the "bang", keeps the prize. It is then customary for the winner to pull their cracker with the same person, in order to give them a sporting chance at winning something back. Soon enough, everyone at the table is wearing a paper hat, and has recited the groan-inducing corny joke found in their cracker, won a prize and is ow offering to trade their prize with the person next to them.
So go ahead and have a go at making your very own Christmas crackers this season for the personal touch to the Christmas table, and bring a touch of old English tradition into your home.