Learn how to make Christmas crackers at home so you can add a little extra DIY to your festive celebrations this year! Homemade Christmas crackers give a personal touch to any festive table. Plus the prizes inside can be so much better than store-bought Christmas bon bons too!
The whole family can get involved in making Christmas crackers to decorate the Christmas table. They are so simple to make and don’t take long at all. This is a perfect activity to do with kids during school break in the lead up to the holiday season as well!
DIY Christmas Crackers
Whether you call them Christmas crackers or Christmas bonbons, this fun and messy activity is quite the Christmas tradition for many families. We always have our crackers on the table on Christmas day, either doing them during our meal or before, depending on how long the younger kids can resist the temptation!
And it only takes a couple of minutes before your table and floor are covered in discarded cracker wrapping and every person at the table is proudly wearing their silly paper Christmas hat and telling cheesy cracker jokes. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
For the kids, it’s all about collecting the coolest cracker toys and hoping all the adults will give theirs up willingly.
The best thing about DIY Christmas crackers is that you can fill them with much more exciting items than the plastic figurines and tiny gadgets that most come filled with.
But first, where did the idea of Christmas Crackers come from?
Where Did Christmas Crackers Originate?
Christmas crackers originated in London, somewhere between 1845-1850 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. His inspiration came from French Bon-Bons, almonds wrapped in pretty paper.
Over time, Tom Smith discovered how to make the crackers crack and turned his idea into a business, which his sons took over after his passing, expanding it into the Christmas tradition it has become today.
Materials Needed to make Christmas Crackers
How to Make Christmas Crackers
- Cut pieces of the Christmas or coloured paper to into 30cm by 16cm rectangles.
- Lay one piece of paper face down on a flat surface.
- Fill a cardboard tube with the items you want to include inside your crackers – party favour, hat and joke.
- Place the cracker snap strip along the length of the paper, in the centre.
- Place the filled roll on top of the banger in the middle of the paper.
- Roll the paper into a tube shape and secure the edge of the paper with a Christmas sticker or sticky tape.
- Carefully tie each end of the cardboard roll using ribbon so that the gifts will not fall out. Take care not to tear the paper as you tie the ribbon.
- Use scissors to curl the curling ribbon by running the blunt side of the scissors along the length of the ribbon. If using another ribbon, tidy the bow up and cut to even lengths.
- Decorate the Christmas cracker as you like.
TIP: To get a more rounded look on the loose ends of paper on your crackers, insert a second cardboard tube in the open end of the rolled paper, allowing about 1cm between the two tubes. Tie the ribbon around the cracker at the point where the two tubes nearly meet. Remove the tube that was used for shaping from the open end of the Christmas cracker. Repeat at the other end of the cracker.
What To Put In Christmas Crackers
There is no limit to what you can put in Christmas crackers… so long as it fits! Any small trinket, toy or gift is ideal. Finding small gifts is not too difficult. Collect small items throughout the year that you see on sale.
If you already have some leftover toys from previous years, you can add them to your DIY Christmas crackers, or use other small toys and items you have at home already.
You can include lollies and chocolates – ideally ones that are individually wrapped in case of melting. Here in Australia with our summer Christmas, melting is a very real consideration!
Or purchase small items to go in your crackers. These can be inexpensive little toys and stationery items or splash out a little and get gifts that your guests will actually love to win as their cracker prizes.
Here are some ideas for Christmas Cracker fillers:
- Chocolates and lollies
- Small toys & party favours
- Stationery items such as novelty erasers, pens, paperclips and crayons
- Lip blam
- Hair accessories
- Mini bubbles
- Self-inking stamps
- Rubber bracelets
- Mini puzzles
- Glow sticks
- Temporary tattoos
What To Put In Christmas Crackers For Adults
If you are hosting a Christmas party for adults and want cracker fillers that are better suited to grown-ups, here are some fun ideas for adult Christmas cracker fillers:
- Mini beverage bottles
- Stationery items
- Individual face masks
- Mini hand creams
- Nail file
- Fridge magnets
Ideas to Decorate Christmas Crackers
- Use gold or silver paper to make elegant Christmas crackers for a formal table setting.
- Decorate with a small twig of holly, either real or artificial.
- Use plain coloured papers and decorate with Christmas stickers and ribbons
- Wrap a small paper doily around the centre and tie with twine in a bow
Personalised Christmas Crackers
Make personalised Christmas crackers for each guest by choosing a gift or trinket just for them.
Label each cracker with the person’s name. Although you will have to change the rules slightly on this one so that the correct recipient gets their chosen gift, no matter who wins the cracker prize.
Create Santa Christmas crackers by using red paper and pulling one end into a point. Add cotton wool for a pompom and rim of the hat at one end.
You can also add a face by drawing one onto a small piece of paper and gluing it to the cracker and a belt by adding a black ribbon to the centre of the bonbon as well.
Christmas Cracker Jokes
If you are planning to include jokes in your homemade Christmas crackers, this is easy to do. You can type them out in a word document, print and cut the individual jokes out for inclusion in your crackers.
Or if you want to get a little fancier, create a template on Canva with festive boxes and Christmas clip art to decorate your joke cards.
Here are 10 funny Christmas cracker jokes to include:
- What do you call Santa Claus when he doesn’t move? Santa Pause
- What do elves learn at school? The elf-abet
- Why did no one bid for Rudolph and Blitzer on eBay? Because they were two deer
- Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing? They always drop their needles
- Who is Santa’s favourite singer? Elf-is Presley
- What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas Quacker!
- Which of Santa’s reindeer has the best moves? Dancer!
- What does Santa spend his wages on? Jingle Bills
- Why was the snowman looking through the carrots? He was picking his nose
- What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite
Christmas Cracker FAQs & Tips
Where can I find Christmas cracker snaps?
Christmas cracker snaps, also known as bangers or pulls, can be found at most craft stores closer to the holiday season. They can also be purchased online from eBay.
Why are our crackers not popping?
If you use paper that is too thick, it will make your crackers too hard to tear. A way to make this easier is by setting up a sewing machine on a wide stitch and run a line of stitch along the end of the paper, where the roll would be, without thread. This will make perforations to help with pulling the Christmas Crackers open. You can also do this by hand with a needle.
How should cracker snaps be stored?
If you have spare cracker snaps leftover and wish to use them to make your own crackers next year, store them in a cool dry place. This will prevent them becoming soft with moisture and impacting their ability to snap.
Now you know how to make Christmas crackers at home and it’s time to get the crafting! Tis the season!
Get the family together, choose the paper, ribbon, and party favours to make DIY Christmas crackers with gifts to enjoy. The festive table will look incredible with your beautiful handmade creations ready for cracking fun!