It’s a cracker!

If you like Christmas to go with a bang then festive crackers are probably on your shopping list; we look at how to have more bang with less waste…

It’s a cracker!

Why do we even have Christmas crackers?

Way back in the 1840’s a sweet maker called Tom Smith was inspired by a combination of French bonbon wrappers and the sparks from his log fire to create a sweet that opened with a bang.

And so the ‘cracker’ was born, first called ‘bangs of expectation’, they were used for all sorts of special occasions, not just Christmas.

It was Tom’s sons who took the idea further, sourcing the festive hats (paper crowns to represent the three wise men) and gifts that now come inside. Tom’s ‘bangs of expectation’ were often bought by men for the ladies they loved, and so a small love poem was included, which over time became the joke or motto you find in crackers today.

The name shifted from ‘bangs of expectation’ to crackers, as they were also known as ‘cosaques’ after the soldiers who fired their guns wildly into the air.

The fun filled nature of the cracker made them perfect for Christmas and a tradition was soon born, with the Christmas cracker a staple of our celebrations today.

How can we keep our festive crackers eco-friendly?

Today many of the gifts inside Christmas crackers are plastic and frankly a bit rubbish. Plus you have all the plastic wrap packaging, plastic ties for the ribbons etc. All up, crackers create a lot of waste.

But fear not, Christmas can still go with a bang if you create your own crackers!

When you make your own you can:

  • Choose exactly what gifts you want to go inside so they don’t end up in the bin at the end of the day.
  • Colour theme your crackers to your festive table setting (if you like that sort of super coordination).
  • Spend time crafting which is great for relaxing and your mental  wellbeing.
  • Reuse wrapping paper, or even newspaper or magazines for that #recycle feel-good factor!

Here are a couple of handy how-to guides we’ve found online that will help show you what to do to make as many crackers as you  need.

Home Beautiful magazine have an easy to follow guide.

This craft website has a brilliant guide including a template you can print out and use, plus help in making the paper crowns!

If you make your own crackers this year, we’d love to see photos, share them on Twitter and give us a mention @CareWithoutCO2.