Christmas Crackers are a staple addition to any Christmas table set up in the UK. But very few know the origins of why we have them year after year. Here at ChristmasTimeUK, we’re going to dive into the story for you, so you can learn a little more about the tradition behind Christmas Crackers.
According to History Extra, Christmas Crackers were invented around 1847 by the confectioner, Tom Smith. It started when he discovered the French bonbon, a sugar almond wrapped in paper with a twist at both ends, on a trip to Paris.
Tom Smith first tried to sell sweets similar to bonbons in England with a motto in the sweets. According to Historic UK, he later added the bang into the sweets when he heard the crackle of a log he put on the fire. This motivated a change for the sweets with a new log-shaped package with an almond and a motto inside along with a surprise bang. The sugared almond was eventually replaced with a small gift and sold under the name Cosaque which later became more commonly known as the cracker.
When Tom died, his cracker business was taken over by his three sons who added Christmas hats into the crackers in the early 1900s. By the end of the 1930s, the mottos were replaced by jokes and limericks.
Today’s Christmas Crackers
Today, Christmas Crackers are colourful cardboard tubes that are pulled at the dinner table and typically come with a bang, a small toy, a colourful Christmas hat, and a painful joke. The paper hats we receive in crackers are thought to symbolise the crowns worn by the Three Wise Men.
According to Why Christmas, the world’s longest Christmas cracker measured 207ft long and 13ft wide, was made by the parents of children at a school in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, UK on the 20th December 2001.
Why not pair your Christmas Crackers with matching table wear and accessories this Christmas? Visit our website to view our wide range of table accessories and finishing touches to spruce up your home.