Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 11

Christmas Countdown Day 11
Christmas Crackers

Regular readers may remember that I posted about Christmas crackers last year, but I thought there was no harm in posting about them again as they are a big part of the traditional British Christmas dinner!

Christmas crackers are another Victorian innovation which became a part of our seasonal celebrations. A gentleman called Tom Smith was in Paris and noted how some shops were selling sweets (bon bons) in small twists of paper. This was something of a novelty as sweets were usually served loose from jars back in England. He bought the idea back to the UK and sold his first Bon Bons in 1847. 

Over time other trifles and novelties were added, such as small gifts or trinkets, paper hats, motos the all important snap. Some say that Tom Smith  was inspired to add a snap when he heard a back from the log on his fire. The snap is similar to that use in pop guns, and is released (or not as is sometimes the case) when the cracker is pulled in half. 

The moto developed into the jokes we know and groan over today. Where do they get these jokes from? I once read that some are sent in from the general public, but many are thought up at the factory, what a job! One thing seems certain, the lamer the joke, the more likely it will be used!

Tom Smith's company still makes millions of christmas crackers each year, and they provide the crackers that grace the table of the Royal Household at Christmas.

And here's a little Christmas cracker for you all, The Good Life Christmas Special from 1977, which has some Christmas crackers in it (all be it homemade ones!) - Enjoy!! ;o)


  1. Andy, that "cracked" me up!!! I haven't watched them in Years and Years!!! Thank you for sharing those clips!
    We mostly don't do "crackers" over here... but occasionally they are part of the festivities....!
    This was really fun!!!

  2. Hi Andy,

    back to crackers again! I do remember the story now you have re posted it. I must remember it so I can tell every one on Christmas day whilst we are partaking in our Bon Bons, I do become a little obsessed with them, I spent a silly amount on mine this year because I was trying get it all done and didn't have the time to look around and I did find some lovely ones a bit on the expensive side by the time you have to have 25.

    I have only watched the first part of your good life post because I'm worried about my pre paid lasting but i so wish I could watch the rest, I loved that show. Do you remember to the manor born? We always watched that, it was so funny, I just saw Penelope Keith is in a show about renovating an old manor and I'm looking forward to watching it this weekend!
    ML Fi xx

  3. I am glad you dusted off your old post about the crackers, Andy! Now I know all about the crackers and its history :D!! I've seen it before on the internet and tv, but over here they are not available and not common :(. I had an adventure on the market last week, I'll tell about it in my next post ;)!
    Over here it is snowing the whole day, at least 6 cm (I've measured it ;)) and there is coming more snow: the real spirit for Christmas to me...
    Hugs, Ilona

  4. Hello Andy,
    Those clips put a smile on my face! What fun! i'll have to remember to include crackers when I set the Holiday table in Dewell Manor!
    Big hug,

  5. Fascinating stuff!

    Groany jokes were explained on a QI(Stephen Fry)Christmas episode as amusing jokes can be divisive when some people find them funny while others don't, but jokes you groan at bring everyone together. :-)