Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas Tips and Ideas - Week Four - You're Crackers!!

Christmas crackers, lovely fun filled little bits of frippery that get us all laughing and joking at the start of the festive meal (and provide fabulous head wear into the bargain).

But they can cost an absolute fortune, looking at them in the supermarket the other day even the cheapo nasty ones with the little bits of plastic (that the dog usually ends up choking on while you're all tucking into the dinner and then he regurgitates his breakfast all over Auntie Nellie's new sparkly Christmas shoes) were well over £5 a box.  If you want a box of 'deluxe' crackers with 'luxury gifts' (how many silver plated dice or thimbles do you really need?) expect to pay at the very least £20.  You may as well crumble up a twenty pounds note now and send a bit less to landfill.

Sorry, I'm starting to sound very Scrooge-like here.

If you're a cracker virgin you may want to buy a kit, with all the necessary bits and pieces, including the snaps, but I think it's sooooo easy just to do it all yourself.  Of course if you're canny, you can watch out for these kits in the January sales usually they are sold for pennies and then you are set up for next year.  Just pack them carefully up with your decorations and you wont lose them.

Right....what do you need. 

Some pretty paper, crepe paper, pages of comics are good for children's crackers, brown paper, either plain or decorated or even those glassy leaflets that drop out of every magazine we buy, as long as they are about A4 size they will work just fine and once rolled up they will all look suitable festive. 

Enough toilet roll tubes for each cracker you want to make plus two spare (for shaping each cracker).  A selection of little gifts, either random or specific for people (put a little gift tag on each cracker as you complete it if you do this).  If you don't want gifts pop in a couple of wrapped sweets or a little certificate of a promise of a service (an evenings babysitting, an hours weeding or ironing etc) folk can swap these around if they want to at the table causing much fun and merriment.

Make some paper hats from thick tissue paper or go down the 'Good Life' route and make newspaper hats, making sure of course that any 'posh guest' gets the Times and not the Sun!!  Although again these can be swapped before the meal starts!!

A pack of 'snaps'........ miss this out if you do as we do and just shout 'BANG'.

A little selection of jokes or mottos.

A glue stick.

Bits of tinsel, ribbon or string for tying up.

Decorations or cut out pictures for putting on the crackers if your paper is plain.

Now to assemble -

Put all your sheets of paper in a neat stack, place a toilet roll tube centrally along the length and make a row of little holes (a darning needle is good for this) just after one end of the tube, this will enable the cracker to pull apart a bit easier and one person to be 'the winner'.  See the picture above.

Now put a line of glue on one side of one toilet roll tube lay it on the paper, with one un-glued toilet roll tube on either side of it and roll them all up in the paper.

Pull out the two un-glued tubes out by about 2 cms, tie your ribbon, tinsel or string around one of the gaps and fasten neatly.  Drop your gift, hat and motto down the other end of the cracker, and poke in the 'snap if you have one and then tie that up like the other end.  If your crackers are guest specific, label NOW or you will forget who it is for.

Decorate the top of the cracker with your cut outs of bits of tinsel.  Pack away carefully until Christmas so they don't get crushed.

Pop over to Angela at Tracing Rainbows for more links to festive tips and ideas.

Next week will be the final tip and then  it's CHRISTMAS....woohoo!!

There's still time to leave your opinion on yesterdays' question and enter the giveaway.  I will pick one commenter from the list of all comments by a Random Number thingy tomorrow at midday.

Sue xx


  1. Ah this takes me back to school :)

  2. I buy mine in the sales for next to nothing, then half the time I forget to put them on the table during Christmas lunch!!

    Gill in Canada

  3. You can also do the perforations by running the paper thru your sewing machine set to a long stitch, with an UNthreaded needle.

    Paper does blunt the needle tho - I keep a special needle for sewing paper, which I have marked with a dab of nail varnish!

    And thanks for the wonderful reminder of the Jerry and Margot DIY Xmas!!

    blessings x

  4. Great tip!
    I'll let you into a secret *whisper*..I don't have Christmas crackers...never have.
    Jane x

  5. I think I've only had Christmas crackers once, but I love the idea to make them! The kids would love them! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog & joining my no spend challenge! Have a great day!!

  6. This is seriously, hugely and really very impressive indeed! I have always thought that home cracker-making must be the pinnacle of a true Christmas expert. I don't even aspire!


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