Monday, December 19, 2011

Reader Question: Holiday Crackers

On Thursday, I posted a little blog, "Champagne and SpaghettiO's", which contained a photo of my kitchen table. One of my readers, Preppy Girl Meets World, posted a question in her comment:

"What was in the holiday cracker? I've always wanted one of those but never got one."

Traditionally, the Holiday Cracker contains a paper hat, a joke, and a small gift. The tradition of the Holiday cracker dates back to 1846, and was invented by Thomas Smith. This was during the time Christmas traditions in England were being established.

He had run across a sugar coated almond wrapped in tissue paper and twisted at each end on a trip to Paris. Thomas decided to start selling goodies himself. Later, he decided to insert a love poem into each one because the gifts were mostly being bought by men for their ladies. He then decided to put a small strip of paper with a chemical which would make the "POP" sound when it was broken apart. When he died, and his sons took over the business, the candy or treat was replaced by a small gift, the love poem was replaced by a joke, and the paper hat, which is representative of the Three Kings who brought gifts to Jesus at His birth, was added.

I have decided to crack open one of the crackers from my table and show its contents on today's post. I cracked open this cracker myself, but traditionally, the way to open a Holiday cracker is with two or more people.

Each gets their own cracker, which is held in the right hand. Everyone crosses their arms and the person next to you grabs the other end of the cracker with their left hand. The left hand is used to pull, while the right holds the cracker. Everyone pulls with their left hand at once, and all the crackers make that loud pop. The contents fall onto the floor.

 I think these are so pretty sitting on a table.

 Inside the tube, the contents are banded together.

 There is the joke!

 And the paper hat!

 The prize inside? One set of paper dominoes!

 Here is a shot of the chemical strip inside the tube. This is what makes the POP.

Traditional contents of a Holiday Cracker.

The quality of the gift inside each cracker is dependent on the cost of the cracker. I picked up this box of 8 Holiday crackers at Pier One Imports in Greensboro, NC for around $18.

This was a fun post! Thanks to Preppy Girl Meets World for the blog post idea!!!
"Pop" on over to her blog when you get the chance!


  1. Thank you for sharing the history of the Holiday CRACKER because I've been to dinner parties before where we each got one on our dinner plate, but had no idea where the tradition came from.

    And I gotta tell ya, it was so much fun to crack it open and then watch the contents POP out!

    Love the photo of the joke. How funny!

    "What do you call a multi story pig pen?

    a styscraper."


    Thanks for sharing, girl! Hope you had a MARVI Monday!


  2. Thank you for posting this!!!! I've always wondered about those.

  3. Hi, Ron!

    I was so happy to see you blogged yesterday. I miss you terribly!

    Those crackers are cheesy (no pun intended, but I'll roll with it), but they are fun. I think they "make" a festive table.

    Hope your week is going well.



  4. Good morning, PGMW!

    You are welcome! It was a fun post. I got to play a little while. Aren't those paper dominoes the funniest?

    Happy Hanukkah, girl!


    THAT'S FUNNY....