You know those Christmas crackers you can buy that have a paper crown, a small toy or trinket and a joke or riddle? Pulling the cracker with that resounding POP (if you do it right) is fun, as is seeing all your relatives sporting coloured paper on their heads. What’s even more fun, though, is making your own Christmas crackers.
My family has done this for years. It’s definitely a don’t-miss Christmas tradition in our house and it’s a nice activity to do on Christmas Eve. Making them is really simple, and you get better toys (and good chocolate) that way too!
The supplies you need to make the crackers include:
- Paper tubes (you can use toilet paper rolls but cutting up a tube from wrapping paper works better because they’re bigger and often stronger)
- Cracker snaps, which you can get at craft stores
- Christmas wrapping paper or tissue paper
- Cellophane (clear or coloured)
- Ribbon and other decoration
- Christmas stickers or seals
You can fill the crackers with whatever you like – that’s the fun of it! We use:
- A small gift specially chosen for each person
- A scratch lottery ticket
- A Christmas chocolate or two
- A riddle (search online for riddles or brain teasers or make up your own)
- A small token or charm
Doesn’t that sound better than a plastic toy and a paper hat?
To make each cracker:
“Wrap” the paper tube with a piece of wrapping paper or tissue large enough to cover the tube. Tuck the edges of the paper inside each end of the tube, securing inside with tape if necessary.
You can wrap the tube with anything you like – another example is the holly paper shown above. Fabric would work too, and here’s an example of a tube covered with craft-style corrugated cardboard:
Next, cut a piece of cellophane large enough to wrap the tube so it extends past the ends of the tube and be tied off like a bonbon, but not so long that you can’t reach the ends of the cracker snap. Cover the wrapped tube with the cellophane and secure it with a sticker or seal. (Line up the seal with the tape on the original wrapped tube so it can’t be seen.)
Here’s a cracker snapper and some types of seals you can use:
Fill the tube with your goodies. Here you can see the tokens and riddles we use.
And here are examples of the types of gifts you can fit inside – small toys, key chains, or jewellery. The silver giraffe is a ring holder that I got in my cracker last year – one of my favourite cracker gifts!
Use your imagination and remember good things come in small packages. There are so many great gifts you can fit in a tube this size.
Slide the cracker snap into the tube with the ends accessible on each side, then close the tube by tying a ribbon (or something similar) at each end.
And that’s it! You have a homemade Christmas cracker your family, friends or guests will surely appreciate.
The only thing left to do is pour yourself some eggnog, admire your handiwork and wait for Santa to come!