Christmas crackers — an imported tradition

By Nicole Daughhetee
Courier Staff

Christmas crackers have been a part of our dinner tradition for the last decade at least. Georgina, a dear friend of ours while in Miami, sent my mom and me a gift of crackers for Christmas one year. Originally from England, crackers had been a part of Georgina’s traditions growing up, and once she introduced them to our family, they are one thing I look forward to each year.

Christmas crackers are a traditional Christmas favorite in the UK. They were first made around 1850 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. He had seen the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper). Add to this a fascination with the sparks and cracks coming from the fireplace, and Smith thought it would be a fun idea if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half.

Voila! The Christmas cracker was created.

The Christmas crackers that are used today are short cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper and twisted at each end like a candy in a wrapper. When setting the table for Christmas dinner, a cracker is placed next to each plate on the Christmas dinner table.

In our home, after we say the blessing, we pull open the crackers with a pop and a laugh. Inside each cracker is a colorful party hat (typically in the shape of a crown), a toy or gift and a festive, corny joke or interesting fact. Everyone puts on their paper crown and takes turns telling their silly jokes.

Crackers have been a great deal of fun over the years, and everyone that comes to our home for Christmas dinner knows he or she is going to be wearing a silly hat, but we all look silly together. It is fun to find the prizes inside, and oftentimes the kids at the table will trade with one another.

Crackers are relatively inexpensive, with a box of 12 costing approximately $12. As with anything, there are more expensive crackers filled with more “quality” prizes.

I have always been able to find crackers at the Tuesday Morning in Easley; however, they are also available on and a simple Google search will turn up plenty of shopping options.