"Christmas Crackers" United Kingdom Things to Do Tip by etfromnc

United Kingdom Things to Do: 1,061 reviews and 1,155 photos

I must confess that I have never had a Christmas Cracker, nor even seen one in actual life, but a dear friend who used to live in Dawlish has told me about them and promised to send some for my sister-in-law's Christmas celebration, so I am posting this tip (almost) verbatim from Wikipedia so that all of my friends, and other lovers of the British Commonwealth, can learn a new (old) tradition.
Christmas crackers are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, and in other Commonwealth countries. A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized candy wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).
In one version of the tradition the person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. In another each person will have their own cracker and will keep its contents regardless of whose end they were in. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper. Crackers are often pulled after Christmas dinner or at parties.
Reminds you just a bit of Chinese fortune cookies, doesn't it?
It is a running joke that all the jokes and mottos in crackers are not funny and unmemorable, along with being the same as those which have been used for many years past.
Similarly, in most standard commercial products, the "gift" is equally awful, although wealthier individuals - notably, the British Royal Family - may use custom crackers with more expensive rewards.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 9, 2008
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