The History of Christmas Crackers

The History of Christmas Crackers



We’ve all pulled a Christmas cracker with the family over a Christmas dinner before, but where did this tradition come from?

And what’s with the rubbish jokes?

Find out the facts on Christmas crackers here!

So let’s start basic.

A Christmas cracker often contains a paper hat, a really bad joke, and a small gift, the quality of the gift really depends on how much you pay for the cracker.

Whilst most people would have received a whistle, pencil sharpener, or tape measure, there are some out there that offer jewelry, expensive gadgets & perfume.

Christmas Cracker Origins.

Christmas Cracker Origins.

Christmas crackers were invented in 1846 by the British confectioner Thomas Smith.

Whilst on a trip to Paris, he stumbled upon a bob-bon, which for those of you that don’t know… it’s basically a sugar almond wrapped up in tissue paper, with a twist on either side of the bon-bon.

Thomas thought the idea could be a festive way of enjoying sweets and produced other candy wrapped in a similar way for the lead-up to Christmas.

Thomas’ bon-bons were a bestseller at Christmas, which led to his next idea.

These Christmas bon-bons were mainly bought by men for their partners to unwrap, so in the early 1850s, Thomas came up with the idea of including romantic poems wrapped around the candy.

Christmas Cracker Developments.

Christmas Cracker Developments.

In 1860, Thomas was inspired by the crackling of the logs in his fireplace and decided his crackers needed a bang!

He added two strips of chemically impregnated paper, which makes a loud noise on being pulled apart, which is still used today.

Originally, these were called cosaques, but were almost instantly referred to as crackers due to the cracking sound when pulling.

Like any good idea, it was soon copied by other businesses, which meant for Thomas’ crackers to keep selling, he would have had to make them more original, so he decided to replace the bon-bon with a surprise gift.

Tom Smith Crackers is still one of the largest manufacturers of crackers in the world and are pulled by thousands of people around the world, including the Royal family!

His cracker company is now owned by Brite Sparks.

In the early 1990s, Thomas’ son, Walter, took over the business and introduced the paper hat to keep battling against the other cracker rivals.

Christmas Cracker Jokes.

Christmas Cracker Jokes.

By the end of the 1930s, romantic poems had been replaced by “bad” jokes.

And when we say “bad,” – we mean jokes like this:

What did one snowman say to the other?
Do you smell carrots?!

Also, while we’re on the topic of snowmen and carrots, you may like to know why snowmen have carrot noses!

Why are Christmas Cracker jokes are so awful?

It’s not because the joke writers don’t have a sense of humor, but rather because that’s what people love and expect from a cracker.

You can find out why Christmas Cracker jokes are so bad here.

Well, that’s all, folks! But before you go, let us know what the best/worst joke you’ve had from a cracker is and what your favorite gift is you’ve received.

For me, I was lucky to receive a small Christmas bear with a hat & scarf – they were posh crackers!

About The Author

Luke Ward
Luke Ward

Luke Ward is the owner of The Fact Site. He has over 14 years of experience in researching, informative writing, fact-checking, SEO & web design. In his spare time, he loves to explore the world, drink coffee & attend trivia nights.

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