Archive for December 23, 2009

Crackers about Crackers? They Must Be!

Posted in CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , on December 23, 2009 by echostains

Tom Smith crackers

Christmas crackers are very traditional, the Christmas table doesn’t look decorated without them.  I love the Tom Smith Christmas crackers, which are very traditional and are still being made today.  Invented in 1847, almost by accident and  inspired by the crackling of a log fire – the charming story of Smith’s invention can be read about here.   Some think the Mexican Pinata has links with the cracker, though it takes two people to share in the pulling of it.  Here’s how to make a pinata.


There is always a paper hat and a motto in each Christmas cracker, a strip that creates the bang, and a toy of some kind.  The rule of thumb is, the more expensive the cracker, the better quality the gift.  Usual gifts though are usually, paper fortune-telling fish.  This curls in your hand according to your body heat.  The type of curl relates to your fortune….


Other toys include plastic mirrors, moustaches, teeth.  The jokes contained are usually in the form of a riddle or motto.   Alternatively you can make your own crackers, it’s not that hard, plus you can choose your own hats, mottos and novelties to insert.  Of course, if you can’t be bothered and have money to burn……

Very Gold Luxury-6-Christmas-Cracker from Harrods

There are some very posh crackers being sold.  The novelties of course are more luxuriant.  For example Fortnum and Mason ‘Cardinal Chorus’ are worth £1000 whilst Harrods ‘Very Gold ‘crackers contain more expensive gifts as well as glittered gold feathers and Christmas trees.  They sell for £600 or $1000 for six!.  I am gobsmacked, (as they say around here).  My tip? be a cheapskate: stick to the toilet or kitchen roll tubes and make your own….