CHRISTMAS crackers have been a festive tradition that's been going strong since the 1800s.
The best Christmas crackers not only look gorgeous on the festive table, but they also have a treat inside that you'll actually want to keep.
Gone are the days when Christmas crackers used to contain a simple paper hat, joke and a thimble.
Now, Christmas crackers can be packed with all kinds of goodies, like jewellery and beauty gifts, or posh food and drink items.
Of course, you can still find Christmas crackers with fun games and magic tricks, as well as 'fill your own' versions where you can put in whatever bits and bobs you like.
You'll also find eco-friendly crackers that are more sustainable, made without glitter or plastic so they can be recycled after the big reveal.
From cheap and cheerful to luxury, we've rounded up the best Christmas crackers to buy online now.
This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.
1. Hallmark 100% Recyclable 6 Luxury Crackers
- (AD) Hallmark 100% Recyclable 6 Luxury Crackers, £11.12 at Amazon – buy here
These 100% recyclable Christmas crackers from Hallmark may be value for money at just over a tenner, but they're anything but basic.
They come in festive red and white designs and contain a hat, joke, festive activity and small gift like a bottle opener, nailclippers and a mini ruler.
'We loved these, all the gifts were metal and good too. Price for the quality is outstanding' writes one happy customer.
2. Cake Factory Make Your Own Crackers
- (AD) Make Your Own Christmas Cracker Kit, £8.99 at Amazon – buy here
Calling all creative types: instead of buying pre-made Christmas crackers, make it a fun crafty afternoon with the whole family and make your own.
These Christmas crackers include 12 hats, 12 cracker barrels and snaps, 12 jokes and 24 ribbon ties.
You can personalise each cracker by adding a special gift in each one.
'Great fun making these. Added a rolled up lotto scratch card in each cracker.
'Went down a treat at Christmas with all the family', writes a reviewer.
3. L'Occitane Festive Beauty Crackers Collection x 4
- L'Occitane Festive Beauty Crackers x 4, £22 at John Lewis – buy here
Fact: Christmas crackers with fantastic gifts – and lovely, colourful, packaging, too – are vastly superior to all other kinds of Christmas cracker.
Which is why we're obsessing over L'Occitane's Festive Crackers, which include goodies like mini cherry blossom shower gel, almond hand cream and shea butter shower oil.
Is it our turn to pick another one yet?
4. Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly Crackers
- Piccadilly Crackers, £60 at Fortnum & Mason – buy here
Nothing says luxury Christmas crackers like Fortnum & Mason, and you'll find a selection of glorious, decadent designs to suit any festive table.
They're also filled with treats to delight any foodies: the Piccadilly Crackers each have a hat, joke and recipe from the Fortnum & Mason cookbook, as well as mini kitchen utensils like cookie cutters, whisks, nutmeg graters and more.
Bonus: the cracker, outer box, hats and jokes are all recyclable, and you can reuse the ribbons and trimmings next Christmas.
5. Kraft Tree Christmas Crackers – Box of 6
- Kraft Tree Christmas Crackers – Box of 6, £10 from Paperchase – buy here
Cheap, cheerful, in a lovely festive print and still recyclable, these Christmas crackers from Paperchase are a lovely addition to any table.
Just because they're eco-friendly doesn't mean they're boring: they're completely customisable, allowing you to fill each cracker with your own suprise.
What will you add?
6. Peach Blossom Diamond Christmas Crackers
- Diamond Christmas Crackers, £18 from Peach Blossom – buy here
If cracker aesthetic is a thing, then this set from Peach Blossom is definitely a vibe for your social media this Christmas.
Featuring a bright white background and gold glitter diamond, this luxe set screams Instagram: they're almost too pretty to spoil, right?
Each cracker contains a joke, a hat and a cute wine glass charm which should make it easy for your guests to know whose rose is whose. Problem solved!
7. Nancy & Betty Studio Elf Christmas Crackers Set of Six
- Nancy & Betty Studio Elf Christmas crackers set of six, £36 from Selfridges – buy here
A charming set of crackers for anyone looking for an eco-friendly option this Christmas.
Nancy & Betty's Elf crackers are made from 100% sustainably sourced paper and printed with vegetable-based ink, while the handmade design is finished with ribbons and bows for the most charming of finishes.
Gifts include a yoyo, wooden die, badge, bouncy ball, wooden spinner, rubber and crayons – which should keep the family entertained.
8. Foxy Magic Crackers Set of Six
- Foxy Magic Crackers Set of Six, £18 from Selfridges – buy here
Fancy learning a magic trick or two?
With Foxy Magic's crackers, you can do just that. Featuring a fun harlequin design, each cracker comes with magic tricks and instructions!
It's bound to be lots of fun – plus the packaging is completely recyclable, so no plastic waste this Christmas.
9. Bespoke & Oak Co. Personalised Handwritten Christmas Cracker
- Bespoke & Oak Co. Personalised Handwritten Christmas Cracker, £30 from Not On The High Street – buy here
For a truly personalised feel around the festive table, these crackers by Bespoke & Oak Co. are the perfect choice for impressing your guests.
Each cracker has a handwritten name in your choice of colour, along with a coordinating ribbon. Sticking to the homemade theme, they're supplied for you to make them up at home – which could be a fun activity for the kids to get involved in, too.
They also come with chocolate to pop inside, or you can of course get creative and add your own gifts.
How much are the best Christmas crackers?
We hate to say it, but you get what you pay for when it comes to Christmas crackers – and when the gifts inside are flimsy little plastic things, it's often the case that cheap crackers just result in unnecessary waste.
We recommend shopping prices around £10 and up for good quality Christmas crackers. You'll notice the difference, with better paper quality and a better selection of gifts that you'll actually use.
Where to buy the best Christmas crackers?
You can't go wrong with department stores like John Lewis and Selfridges when shopping for festive traditions like Christmas crackers. There's always a good choice of price points too, which is great if you're looking for quality that's affordable.
Similarly, card shops like Paperchase always have a good selection, while if you're looking for true luxury and decadence – the likes of Fortnum & Mason and Harrods are the heigh of festive extravagance. Just be prepared for eye-watering price tags!
You'll also find plenty of online options: the choice can be overwhelming, but we love websites like Not On The High Street and Etsy, where you can support independent businesses, and often find something more unique than the shop-bought standards.
What can I put in my homemade Christmas crackers?
Homemade Christmas crackers are a lovely way to bring some personalisation to your seasonal decor – plus it's always a fun activity for the family to help with and get in the festive spirit!
Besides the obvious (and foolproof) option of chocolates, there are some cute ideas you can fill your crackers with, depending on your guest's tastes. Here are some of our favourite suggestions:
- Mini bathbombs, creams, lip balms or nail varnishes
- Dried fruits and nuts
- A miniature bottle of liquor
- A personalised keyring
- A handwritten note containing a fact about that person or a challenge/dare
- An engagement ring (hint hint)
What makes Christmas crackers pop?
There are few sounds – and smells – more evocative of Christmas than the snapping of a cracker. And of course, then there's the satisfaction of being the person to get the winning end!
The pop of a cracker is all down to a combination of silver fulminate (an explosive chemical compound) and sandpaper, which are applied to two strips of card inside the cracker tube. Pulling the cracker essentially creates friction between the two strips, causing the silver fulminate strip to heat up and 'explode' with a bang.
When was the cracker invented?
If you've ever wondered about the origins of the Christmas cracker, history takes us back to 1847, where a confectioner and baker called Tom Smith came across the ‘bon bon’ in Paris.
Taking the sweet back to London, Smith began selling them wrapped in a twist of tissue paper, before later adding the explosive element – which was inspired by the crackle of a log thrown on a fire. A few modifications later, Smith had added a surprise gift and christened his new product 'Cosaques'. By the 1920s, his crackers were advertised with the slogan "World Renowned Christmas Crackers. No party complete without them" – and the rest, as they say, is history!
Enjoyed our roundup of the best Christmas crackers? Then you might also like our selection of the best advent calendars for men and women.
We've also rounded up the best pop-up Christmas trees that will make decorating a breeze this festive season.
And head over to Sun Selects for more tips, trends and products.
Source: Read Full Article