crackers for christmas!

by Sharon Santoni
Pulling the christmas crackers is as much part of our Christmas lunch table, as the turkey or the flaming pudding – simply essential.

The crack as the snapper snaps, the silly paper hats that everyone has to wear, the appalling jokes and the tiny gifts, it all adds to the festive table and general fun.

This year, I’m not sure why, I was looking for something different, and when back in England last month I saw some fill-your-own crackers :  “that would be fun” I piled several boxes into my shopping cart.  Ha!  I had no idea …….
The space allowed for the gift is REALLY small.  I used the first set of crackers at our pre-christmas lunch last weekend.  The challenge was to find a gift for each person at the table, that was small, fun, and that fits into the cracker.
Working on the basis that I’m not intending to gift diamond rings (how strange!),  I came up with lots of ideas for girls: lip gloss, fun earrings, little sachets of bath salts, nail varnish  ….  but of course, (and why am I not surprised?!)  the boys proved way more difficult.   A magic trick for a youngster, a decorative wine cork for another …grrr!  ……….. not even socks will fit into the cracker body!

So tell me please, I’m sure you’d have some great ideas for me, what would you put into a cracker?

Any ideas have to:
 fit into 4″ or 10 cm long and 2″ or 5cm in diameter
and be fun fun fun!
I am all ears!


photos thanks to pinterest


Shingle Cottage December 17, 2012 - 10:39 pm

This just an idea but you could put little notes inside and have the cracker gift under the Christmas tree or hidden somewhere in the house and a little note with clues to find it x

Catherine December 17, 2012 - 11:09 pm

A sterling silver key ring for a man. Every nicer, one that has been engraved.

Stephanie December 17, 2012 - 11:20 pm

A key chain would be a cute idea. Jacks for a young boy. Or marbles. A treasure map leading to where the "real" prize is hidden. Or one of those tiny little etch a sketches. The mini scrabble they make is about 2 inches in total. Good luck!

sharon santoni at my french country home December 17, 2012 - 11:30 pm

That could indeed be fun – providing the dogs don't find the gifts first!

sharon santoni at my french country home December 17, 2012 - 11:30 pm

Key rings are a very good idea Catherine, thank you

sharon santoni at my french country home December 17, 2012 - 11:31 pm

Jacks ! Of course, why didn't I think of those, I love playing jacks. Thank you Stephanie

Shoreham Cottage Gifts December 17, 2012 - 11:34 pm

small torch, metal clip bookmark, sometimes you can get the two combined so you can read in the dark, monogrammed handkerchief, cufflinks, minature tool set maybe or really nice sweets but I do agree it is a bit of a challenge ! 🙂
p.s. not sure how much fun this lot is except perhaps the torch to read in the dark x

Marianne November 23, 2015 - 3:28 am

other small stuff for the avid camper/outdoorsman/outdoorswoman: small compass/thermometer which hangs from zipper tab, pocket multi-tool, Swiss Army knife. Head lamp is probably too big, but the Boy Scouts love them. Spork? (combination spoon, fork, knife) I put sporks in my kids’ Christmas stockings one year and they take them to school in their lunch bags. OK, very utilitarian, but for someone who packs their own lunch it’s quite handy.

I’m a practical person, so….
Book mark, itty bitty book light, stylus for smart phone, interesting pen, cork screw, bottle opener.

For the cook, a garlic peeler (a silicone tube that you put a garlic clove in. When you roll it, the skin peels off.). Special spices. I have a set of measuring spoons that love: they have deep bowls and flat bottoms, so they don’t tip when you set them down. OK, I’m a very practical person. But, I appreciate nice kitchen gadgets.

sharon santoni at my french country home December 17, 2012 - 11:43 pm

Actually Sally I found a tiny torch that clips onto a book but I had forgotten about cufflinks – thank you!

Lilla Blanka December 17, 2012 - 11:50 pm

Lovely crackers..!

I haven't made any this Christmas (yet, I might add) and now when I see yours I really would like to make some :))

Big hug

Ellie December 17, 2012 - 11:55 pm

Maybe a swiss army knife or little pocket knife.

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J.W. December 18, 2012 - 1:17 am

Oooo…I like the animal-themed ones in the first photo!

helen tilston December 18, 2012 - 2:29 am

Hello Sharon
How about some Euros rolled up, lottery tickets, a lazer light which is my husband's favourite object. Our dog chases the light. USB ports, i tunes, Starbuck gift cards.

Have a very Happy Christmas

Helen xx

Yvonne @ StoneGable December 18, 2012 - 3:19 am

Oh, how I love these fun little crackers! When I lived in England they always had a paper crown in them. We use them on boxing day!
I love the updated papers on them!

Kathleen December 18, 2012 - 5:46 am

I had 3 male offspring and Stocking gifts where tough to find… but here are somethings I came up with. Chapstick (or equivalent) key chains, Thumb drives (memory sticks several other names)pens because they were always loosing them) tiny square sticky notes or the sticky strips for marking books and papers. Highlighters, razor's or blades most razors have a protective cover now and of course these were for my own young men so I knew their preferences. Travel size shampoo's, etc for the gym bag. I love the idea of rolled money. And finally gum, mints, hand sanitizers and any candy transferred to a zip top bag that will fit in the cracker.
Love the blog as always. Have a Joyous Noel and Nouvelle année merveilleuse.

Kristie Franklin December 18, 2012 - 6:17 am

I love Crackers, I think they add such a great decorative look to your holiday table and are so much fun too. How about little IOU notes for a lunch, dog sitting, babysitting, bookmarks. It looks like you have suggestions for just about everything!

the polished pebble December 18, 2012 - 7:41 am

How wonderful…I forgot all about these !

thanks for the lovely inspiration, kelley

Barbara Lilian December 18, 2012 - 10:52 am

Everyone else has already written the things we put into our crackers, but for one that fits male/female is the scratch cards bought from the local Tabac/Bar, O.K. they mite not win, but just think if one was a winner, that would be a talking point for the rest of the evening, ha. ha. Keep having fun & Joyeux Noel to you & your family.

Kate December 18, 2012 - 11:09 am

I feel your pain! For some long forgotten reason, I became the official cracker maker for our large and growing family many years ago. When there were a lot of young children it was quite easy and fun but as they have grown up (youngest is now 20) it has become increasingly difficult. One tip though, is to avoid heavy items such as nail polish which will fall heavily to the table when the cracker is pulled. One year I hit upon the idea of little miniatures of alcohol and the first one pulled open slammed to the table and luckily missed anything breakable. The other thing of course is the cost!

david terry December 18, 2012 - 11:51 am

Many perfume/cologne companies (Hove Parfemeurs, for example) sell (online, by the way) very small "samples" of men's colognes.

—-david terry

jessica December 18, 2012 - 2:38 pm

I am happy to read your post, as I have been trying to come up with ideas for my own crackers! I like the idea of lotto tickets.

Lady Locust December 18, 2012 - 3:10 pm

old fashioned jacks – you know the bouncy ball and cris-crosses. They would be especially fun when it cracks.

miranda December 18, 2012 - 3:50 pm

I've done these before and always had the same problem. Testers for cologne are a great idea, as are lottery tickets. I always think that these items should be cheap and affordable. Thanks for this post as I was struggling for ideas for my boys christmas stockings (which I generally fill with little things)

Linda Stansbury December 18, 2012 - 4:31 pm

I love Christmas crackers… so British. Too bad we don't do them here. How about dice, or tiny LED flashlight, or matchbox cars, nail clippers, money clip… there are lots of small things men and boys like. Have fun with it.

peggy braswell December 18, 2012 - 5:53 pm

Chrimstmas crackers….what a lovely custom + so British + so much fun + Love all the suggestions. Happy Tuesday from S

Sara Marie December 19, 2012 - 1:06 am

iTunes gift card or phone min. gift card?

sheepyhollow December 19, 2012 - 1:01 pm

What fun! For the boys/men, movie theatre or sport event tickets!?

Raewyn December 20, 2012 - 11:13 am

For us here in NZ the British traditions are carried on religiously and as you say it wouldnʻt be Christmas day without crackers! Every year I feel embarrassed for the poor person who spends his/her time creating such appalling jokes and sourcing the most ridiculous tokens. One year I squeezed lotto tickets into ready made crackers but the response just wasnʻt the same! ( AND weʻre meant to be semi intelligent!) I guess I could cope with a small diamond or similar if i waited for hell to freeze over!! Merry Christmas I envy you enjoying all the trappings on a snowy day. – 30c here today!!

Vicki December 21, 2012 - 5:25 pm

How about Lego? My boys loved Lego (and still do in their twenties!)
Buy one of the very small packages, open it up and pour the pieces
into the cracker, with the instructions stuffed in as well.

Marianne November 23, 2015 - 3:41 am

flash drives (don’t know what you call them in UK, but they are portable storage devices you can put into a computer’s USB port. My children (ages 13-17) find them useful for school. Might be good for adults, too. Some stores sell them in fun designs. Add a lanyard so they won’t lose it.

for adults: wine stopper (in a design they’d like: sports, Star Wars, etc.) wine glass charms


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