The History of the Christmas Cracker

The History of the Christmas Cracker

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year as you are actively encouraged to spend time with your nearest and dearest whilst taking time off work. Whether you prefer to gorge on ungodly amounts of food or secretly look forwards to exchanging gifts, many people can attest that their best memories as a child were made during the festive period. In fact, you can find the magic in Christmas as an adult!

Every family does Christmas differently, and there are no rules to say who is right or wrong. After all, you may take a religious approach to the holidays and spend time in church, or you may see the day as a family occasion. If there is one thing that can’t be forgotten however, it is a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings as the big day just wouldn’t be complete without pigs in blankets and Brussel sprouts. You may even choose to add a dash of cranberry sauce too.

In the UK, many families will place a Christmas cracker on the dining table for each family member and there are even smaller varieties that make the game enjoyable for the young ones too. The idea is simple: you both grab one end and pull as hard as you can until the cracker explodes with a ‘pop’, revealing lots of little goodies inside. The most infamous ones are jokes, riddles, a small plastic toy, and of course, a colourful paper crown! To make the occasion all the more memorable, you can then wear your festive hat throughout the meal.

The Christmas Cracker is a British invention that was made between 1845 and 1850 by Tom Smith, a London sweet maker. Taking inspiration from French BonBons, Smith created his own business by selling sweets that came with a joke or riddle, however it wasn’t quite the money maker he had envisioned. It is thought that Tom Smith was sitting in front of a log fire when he imagined his sweets opening with a ‘bang’ after being pulled from both sides. He launched his new product – Bangs of Expectation – in 1861 and research suggests that he purchased the recipe for the signature cracker bang from a fireworks company. After his death, his three sons took over the company and implemented the familiar trinkets and hats that we are so fond of today.

This year we’ve introduced a new idea as an alternative to the Christmas cracker and make it something that all the family want to keep…

Our Christmas Table box is designed to be your centrepiece for your family table, with individual bags for each family member the contents will last longer than the usual cracker contents. The favourite cracker hats and jokes are still there but as well you get games, crafts and delicious treats – and of course a box to keep it all in and use year after year.

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