Homemade Christmas Crackers & Secret Santa

Secret Santa

Just before I talk about crackers, I thought I would talk about my husbands ‘Secret Santa’ at his office .

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Secret Santa is a traditional part of the Christmas festivities. Work places, schools and colleges across the UK exchange anonymous cheap Christmas
gifts.  As you only buy one gift, it is a fun, low cost way to take part in the festive season.  Some families even do this now to save money.

No one is really sure when or where Secret Santa originated  from, but it is thought the original Secret Santa was
an American philanthropist, Larry Dean Stewart (1948 – 2007). He spent 20 years doing random acts of kindness for people throughout the year.  People soon cottoned on to his ‘Secret Santa’ idea, seeing it as a way of exchanging cheap Christmas gifts anonymously.

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People usually set a limit to the amount of money that is spent on a gift, but sometimes this can still be expensive.  My husbands work place came up with a good idea to keep the cost down:

Each person is given a budget of £2 to buy the daftest, most obscure thing that they can find, to make people laugh .

You may say this is a waste of £2, but they have such a laugh when they are opening their presents and they still talk about some of the presents for years to come, which shows it is £2 well spent.

I think this is a really great idea.  Please let me know if you do a Secret Santa in a different way too.

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Christmas Crackers

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Christmas Crackers are a British tradition dating back to Victorian times.

Tesco Crackers £9.93

Tesco Crackers £9.93

In 1847, Tom Smith invented the cracker after admiring the French sugared almond, wrapped in coloured tissue paper.   So he introduced them to London but they were not as popular as he had hoped.

For a few years he worked hard to develop the sweets into something more exciting. But it wasn’t until one evening when he was working in front of his fireplace that the great idea came to him.  One of the logs on the fire made a loud ‘cracking’ sound and that gave him the idea of putting a strip of paper in the sweet to make a ‘bang’.  He knew children would love the noise and loud bangs were said to frighten evil spirits too.

At the turn of the century, Tom Smith produced crackers not only for the Christmas season but also to celebrate every major occasion from The Paris Exhibition in 1900 to War Heroes in 1918 and The World Tour in 1926 of Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales.  He tailored the contents of each cracker in each individual box.

Sainsburys crackers reduced from£10 to £5 until 18/12

Sainsburys crackers  £10.00

It soon became a firm favourite at parties with toys and hats added to each ‘cracker’.
By the end of the century it was well established as a traditional holiday custom and now every Christmas, virtually every household in the UK has at least one box of Christmas crackers to pull, with their Christmas dinner.

Asda crackers £7.00

Asda crackers £7.00

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I make our Christmas Crackers:

Homemade crackers are fun and cheap to make and you can personalise them to suit each member of your family.  Also, you can use colours that will enhance the look of your dining room table and impress your guests.

This is how I made mine:

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Christmas Crackers

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Tissue paper

Kitchen roll tube

Cracker snaps (these can be purchased from craft shops, eBay, amazon etc.)

Ribbon

A joke (there are loads of jokes on the internet – I used this website)

A small gift (e.g. a small chocolate)

Sellotape

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First make a hat by measuring a length of paper to fit an ‘average head’ and then cutting the tissue paper in triangles.

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Sellotape the hat together .

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Fold it ready to go inside the cracker.

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Cut the cardboard tube the size that you want your cracker to be.  Cut a piece of tissue paper so it will wrap around the tube once.

Put your cracker snap, gift, hat and joke inside the cardboard tube.

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Wrap the tissue paper around the tube and stick it with Sellotape.

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Tie up each end tightly, with a ribbon.

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You can decorate your cracker in whatever way you want.  I print off name tags to stick on mine, as my gifts are tailored to individual members of my family.  I also cut an old piece of tinsel and stick that on the crackers too, to make them a bit more glamorous.

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I think they look super and everyone always comments on how special the homemade crackers are and they are really cheap and fun to make.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

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5 thoughts on “Homemade Christmas Crackers & Secret Santa

  1. Just about to make my crackers this year! We haven’t had any for years as I don’t like paying for the rubbish in the shop ones. At this first attempt we will all have to shout bang as we pull the cracker as I have no snaps! It was a bit of a last minute idea so no time to order online 😦

    • I agree, they do have cheap rubbish in don’t they. I bought mine in the sales each year as I didn’t want to pay much for them, but now I make homemade ones they have something nice in them.

      I think shouting ‘bang’ would be such a giggle and eveyone will remember them.

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