Make Your Own Christmas Crackers and Holiday Poppers
By Gina Ritter
Christmas crackers were first created in 1847 as a festive British party gift for adults. They are made from pretty paper wrapped around cardboard; when pulled by the ends so that the wrapper is broken, the friction causes a piece of paper inside called a cracker snap (which is treated with an explosive chemical called silver fulminate) to make a noisy pop. Original crackers contained a balloon, small hat, a gift and a joke, but they’ve evolved to contain many themed items.
Crackers are still widely enjoyed by children today in many countries. You can design what I call Holiday Poppers around special event themes or holidays such as birthdays, weddings and Valentine’s Day.
Stores sell beautiful Christmas crackers for around $2.80 to $3.80 a piece, but you can make an amazingly simple creation at home. Using toilet paper cardboard rolls in your crackers is a wonderful way to recycle, and some of your other decorations and paper materials can be recycled from old gift wrap, ribbon and other things.
Basic supply list
Toilet paper rolls
10”x10” squares of wrapping paper, crepe paper or tissue paper
Transparent tape or double-sided tape
Small trinkets, candy or other surprises
Ribbon or string
Other decorative items such as stickers, paper cut-outs, sequins, etc.
Fortune notes, mottos or jokes on colorful pieces of paper
To purchase Christmas cracker supplies including cracker snaps, visit www.oldenglishcrackers.com/cracker-snaps.htm. [NFO is not affiliated with this company. Please be sure you learn more about them before ordering; just as you would with any online store]
Find alternate directions and a supply list at www.imagitek.com/xmas/crafts/cracker.html.
1. Stuff the cardboard rolls with treats. If you need to, use transparent tape to hold the surprises in while you work.
2. Place the roll on a 10”x10” piece of paper so that the roll is closer to the top than the bottom, with an equal amount of paper on each end.
3. Roll the paper over the cardboard, securing the paper to itself with a strip of tape. It’s nice to use double-sided tape here, so no one can see it.
4. Tie both ends of the paper with decorative string or ribbon.
5. Decorate the outside with stickers, sequins, paper cut-outs, etc.
Without purchasing cracker snaps, you still have a fun holiday treat for kids and adults. The project is a popular preschool art project, but can be enjoyed by children of any age. You can even make up Christmas crackers yourself to give away during the holidays or any special event.
© Gina Ritter
Gina Ritter owns and publishes Natural Family Online under the umbrella of Blame Mama Media™. She also partners with another natural family practitioner to bring you the Balter Catalogue Company in 2005.