12 Crafts for the Season - Day 8: Did You Know the Origin of the Christmas Cracker?

· 314 words · about 2 minutes

The Christmas cracker is a firm holiday staple, appearing not only on our dinner tables but as decorations on our trees. We here at the AAaH absolutely love them – especially when they are homemade – but even we found this history of the cracker fascinating!

In the late 1840’s, English sweet maker Tom Smith was looking for a fun way to market his sweets to compete with other sweet makers at the time. Inspired by the French ‘bon bon’, he wrapped his sweets in a twisted tissue wrap and later added a short message inside like a fortune cookie, however sales were still flagging.

One night while by the fireplace, inspiration struck him as he admired the crackling of the flames. He decided that in order to bring fun and whimsy to his sweets, he would add a snapping effect inspired by the fire crackle. Eventually, he increased the size of the wrapping and swapped the sweets for small gifts which delighted the Victorians of the era.

By the 1870’s crackers were everywhere, whether it be on dinner tables or as decorations on Christmas cards – they had found their place within our holiday traditions. You can now buy crackers in shops across the UK and beyond, but there is always something so special about creating your own! Luckily, English Heritage has a brilliant how to on making your own Christmas crackers in the Victorian style.

If you are in the mood to get crafty, why not discover our amazing range of AAaH kits that allow you to explore arts and crafts in supportive and accessible ways. Lorna’s gilded sign writing kit offers the chance to work with gold leaf, a skill that would transfer amazingly into making the most dazzling Christmas crackers. In the meantime, check out some of our other 12 days of crafting posts to explore the world of crafting!