This post contains affiliate links for which I may make a small commission to help keep the site running. You will not be charged extra for these items had you not clicked the links. Thank you for your help to keep the site running!
British Christmas crackers are such an essential part of Christmas dinner, and in this British Christmas crackers tutorial, you’re going to learn how to make them at home!
Christmas crackers aren’t actually edible crackers, but rather a cardboard structure with trinkets inside that “crackle” or pop when they are pulled apart.
Hey! Sidenote! Planning on visiting the UK or moving to the UK?
For more advice, photos and friendly help, click here to join my UK Travel Facebook group to carry on the conversation with fellow travelers and UK experts.
History of Christmas Crackers
Christmas crackers in the UK date back to the 1800s, when Tom Smith, a candy maker, invented them as part of a promotional way to sell his bon bons.
If you notice, the Christmas cracker almost looks like an oversized candy wrapper, and he would put bon bons in the middle and package them like that.
The “cracker” part comes from the cracker snaps or pop that happens when the Christmas cracker is pulled open.
It’s said that he got this idea from listening to the crackle and pop of the roaring fire in the winter.
Materials for Christmas Crackers
To make Christmas crackers, you’ll need:
- a piece of wrapping paper, cut to the size of a normal piece of computer paper
- cracker snaps (you can buy them on Amazon here)
- a toilet paper roll, or paper towel roll cut in half
- two pieces of string or yarn, about 12 inches long each
- thin cardboard, like from a pasta box
- any trinkets you want to put in the cracker
How to Make Christmas Crackers
The first thing you’ll need is your piece of wrapping paper and toilet paper roll, and a little bit of tape.
Put the toilet paper roll on the long edge of the wrapping paper, in the middle, and tape it down.
Then, roll the wrapping paper around the toilet paper roll until there is no more left to roll.
Find the seam and tape it with a few pieces of tape.
If you do have the cracker snap, put it in the toilet paper roll now!
If you don’t have this part, you can leave it out and continue on with the rest – it just won’t make that explosive pop when you open it.
Now, if you are putting trinkets like a Christmas crown or small candy in, put some in the middle now.
Next, cut your thin card into strips, about 2 inches by 8 inches, but make do with what you can.
In this photo, I actually used a toilet paper roll that I cut, but I’ve also used thin card from a pasta box or other household items.
Roll in into a circle so that it fits inside the wrapping paper, and make sure you leave about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of wrapping paper overhanging.
You don’t want this cardboard touching your toilet paper roll.
Now take your pieces of string.
With your fingers around the wrapping paper roll, find the bit in between the toilet paper roll and the cardboard you’ve put in and gentle scrunch it up, and twist it a little.
Wrap your string tightly around this section and tie it off in a bow.
Do this on each side.
Then, wrap the ends of the wrapping paper over the end of your cracker and tape it down.
And that completes your Christmas cracker!
Put one on each dinner plate for Christmas dinner, and when it’s time to eat, everyone should hold theirs with one hand and someone else’s with the other hand in a circle and pull at the same time.
You’ll hear the pop and crackle from the cracker snap, and you can then find your hat to put on for the meal and find your candy and other trinkets.