Friday, December 11, 2015

On the fifth day of Christmas... Christmas Crackers

The tradition of Christmas Crackers has been something that I have always loved.
They were something that I found to be so much fun that in our little family we have had them as a tradition for Christmas day dinner and New Years Eve ever since the kids were born. And they feature in my blog name, of course.

Christmas crackers were first created in around 1845-1850 by Tom Smith, a candy maker in London. He was inspired by the French bon bon sweets that were wrapped in pretty paper. He tried to sell his sweets the same way but also inserted a riddle. They did not sell as successfully as he had hoped.
It is said that one night he was sitting in front of his log fire and was inspired by the sparks in the fire. He thought it would be fun if his sweets and toys could open with a crack like that fire when they were pulled in half.
He originally called them Cosaques.

This began to do well. When he died, his sons took over his business. His son Walter came up with including the hats in the crackers.
They began to make themed crackers and crackers for special occasions like Coronations.
Business was good.

Today Christmas Crackers are cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper. It is a tradition to put a Cracker next to each Christmas dinner plate. You pull them, they let out a bang and a spark and you find your paper crown hat, a toy of some kind (usually something cheap) and a piece of paper with a corny joke.

Pay attention in any modern British Christmas production and you will usually see or hear about them. 
Remember this scene in Harry Potter....

As you can see there are some purple Crackers on the table and Arthur Weasley already has on a crown hat! 

Overall it is a really fun tradition that we love doing and look forward to each year. 
This year I have the Union Jack decorated Crackers for us to use as well as some really cute tiny ones I picked up at Target for a few dollars. 
I am really glad we started and continue this tradition. 

*Do you do Christmas Crackers? 


Donna said...

We've never done them because I didn't know very much about them. I think they sound super fun. Literally!

The Kings said...

Yes, with you guys on New Years Eve! And it is fun!

cheryl said...

Haha! They are. The toys inside are super cheap so I am thinking that next year I may try to make my own. That way I could buy little mini ponies or something the kids really like and then they will be really surprised when theirs open up!