The History of Christmas Crackers


Hello, friends! Natasha is here again! All over Britain on Christmas Day, 25th December, families can be found sitting around their dining tables enjoying a traditional lunch of roast turkey with all the trimmings – and everyone, regardless of age, wearing coloured paper hats, shaped as a crown. It is rumoured that even the Queen wears her paper hat over lunch! So why do we have such a tradition? Where do these paper hats come from? The answer is the Christmas cracker. A Christmas cracker is a cardboard paper tube, wrapped in brightly coloured paper and twisted at both ends. When the cracker is pulled apart by two people, the cracker makes a bang. Inside the cracker there is a paper crown made from tissue paper, a Christmas joke on a slip of paper and a little gift. It is a standard complaint that the jokes in crackers are not funny and often very well known, as the same jokes have been appearing in crackers for decades! Christmas crackers are a British tradition dating back to the Victorian times, when in 1846, London confectioner Tom Smith started adding little messages to his sugared almond bon-bons, which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package. As many of his bon-bons were bought by men to give to women, many of the messages were simple love poems. He was inspired to add the “bang” when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on the fire. He decided to make a log shaped package that would produce a surprise bang and inside would be an almond and a message. Soon the sugared almond was replaced with a small gift. Originally it was sold as the “Cossacks”, but soon it became known by the public as the ‘cracker’. It was successful business for more than 50 years. In the early 1900s the paper hat was added to the cracker by the sons of Tom Smith. The party hats look like crowns and it is thought that they symbolise the crowns that might have been worn by the Wise Men. By the end of the 1930s, the love poems had been replaced with jokes. The cracker was soon adopted as a traditional festive custom and today virtually every household has at least one box of crackers to pull over Christmas. Unfortunately, I cannot show you a Christmas cracker today, because they are always bought by my Grandmother who has all the family eating Christmas dinner in her house. But I can show you some photos of me pulling crackers at previous Christmas parties. So, once again, all what we have in a Christmas cracker are: paper crowns, Christmas jokes to read aloud by each member of the party and a little present. A little present could be a keyring, a bottle opener, a necklace, a pen, a puzzle… we’ve got quite a selection of these little goodies at home! Now you know a little bit more about how we celebrate Christmas. I will try to make another video or two about other things which we enjoy at Christmas. Please subscribe to my channel not to miss any of my videos. Hope to speak with you again soon, goodbye!

Comments 1

  • Спасибо. Много нового узнала из вашего ролика. Очень приятно было "побывать" у вас в гостях и "посидеть" за праздничным столом. Замечательно оформлен интерьер и сервирован обед. Нарядно и любовно к каждой детали. Здорово!

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