Christmas dinner would not be the same without a cracker to pull. But gone are the days when they all contained the terrible joke, tissue party hat and “break-in-a-second” prize – today’s contents tend to be much better quality.
Rather than a just a distraction from the main event (the food, of course) many crackers are now packed with enough entertainment that they have become something to look forward to.
On this list, we’ve rounded up a wide range of crackers, which all vary in terms of design and contents. Some come with games which are simple to pick up and can be played right there at the table, others come with great after-dinner treats, such as spirits and chocolate, and there are also those which can help support charities.
So take a look through the list and find one that’s perfect for your Christmas plans, for family, friends, or both.
1. Midwinter Ditsy Berry Crackers: £15 for 12, johnlewis
You can always count on John Lewis for crackers that marry contemporary and traditional Christmas designs. We love these pretty offerings that feel good quality and will cheer up any Christmas table with their festive colours.
2. Mini Bingo Crackers: £4 for 10, tesco
These miniature colourful crackers can provide hours of fun and may even save you getting out the Christmas board games after lunch. With each featuring four bingo games, they also come with bingo calling numbers, bingo lingo and check sheets.
3. Fringe Christmas Crackers: £21.95 for six, notonthehighstreet
Bring some party cheer to your Christmas table this year with these striking crackers that reject traditional Christmas colours for fringes with flamboyance, along with cheery words with gold sparkle. Great for a contemporary look.
4. Family Crackers: £4 for 12, sainsburys
These look more expensive than they really are and with 12 in a pack, there’s probably enough for your whole family. Each cracker is decorated with delightful designs of Santa and his sleigh and contains a gift, hat, snap and motto.
5. Handbell Crackers: £30 for eight, lakeland
Pull your crackers to receive your individual handbell, each of which is tuned to a different note. Then get yourself a conductor, give them the baton and music sheet and get playing. After a bit of practice – and almost certainly some laughs – you may well have nailed Away in a Manger down to a tee.
6. Make Your Own Crackers: £4 for six, oxfam
You don’t have to buy crackers – you can have fun making your own. This budget pack means you can fill the crackers with whatever you want, then finish them off with the jokes, hats, ribbons and snappers provided. Plus, you get to support a charity in the process.
7. Master of Malt Drinks by the Dram Crackers: £57 for six, notonthehighstreet
If your guests enjoy a tipple of top notch quality, then you’ll make their Christmas with these fabulous crackers that each contain a different 3cl dram, ranging from gin and whisky to bourbon and brandy. There’s also a party hat and joke.
8. Crackers: £1 for eight, poundland
If you’re on a tight budget or crackers just aren’t something you think it’s worth spending out on, then this set from Poundland will do you proud. Each contains a hat and novelty gift – they don’t exactly constitute festive opulence, but they do the job and there are lots of designs.
9. Woodland Frost Crackers: £65 for six, fortnumandmason
Crackers don’t get more lavish than Fortnum’s, where a box of six can now set you back a mammoth £1,000. These more affordable (but still pricey) ones are new for this year with stunning woodland-themed decoration and extravagant silver gifts that your guests will actually want to take home.
10. Santa Dash Crackers: £13 for six, dogstrustgifts
Here’s another option for people who like to support charities via their yuletide purchases. Pull each cracker to reveal a wind-up Santa that you race on the board – particularly good for kids to play while the adults chat after lunch.
11. Mini Crackers: £16 for 10, hotelchocolat
Less is more with these miniature crackers that make classy table decorations. In fact, you can use them for table setting too as there’s a space to write each guest’s name on them. Each comes with a delectable chocolate, such as Caramel Cheesecake and Dark Dizzy Praline.
12. Ho Ho Ho Magic Crackers: £11 for six, talkingtables
Rarely do you get such play value from a single cracker. Each contains an individual magic trick, entertainment scroll, joke, tongue twister, trivia question and paper hat. The red and white design looks good on the table too.
13. Sanctuary Surprises Crackers: £10 for four, boots
Beauty crackers are becoming increasingly popular, although many contain gifts people may not actually want. These, however, look good enough to double up as table decorations and contain indulgent and genuinely useful body wash products from Sanctuary.
14. 12 Days of Christmas Family Crackers: £15 for 12, marksandspencer
These crackers each feature a design representing the 12 days of Christmas. Providing festive opulence, they each contain a different prize ranging from spinning top to playing cards and screwdriver set to keyring, along with the obligatory hat, joke and motto.
15. Black and White: £20 for six, habitat
If you’re just about fed up with all the reds and whites, golds and silvers, of the festive season, why not shun the Christmas look altogether and go for these modern black and white offerings from Habitat. Beautifully made, they look stunning on the table.
16. Santa & Reindeer Crackers: £17.50 for six, whitestuff
These delightful crackers come in the shape of Father Christmas and his faithful reindeers. Lots of thought has gone into the detail, and inside, you get a gold foil hat that is well made enough to stay on your head without ripping, a joke and a fun magic trick.
We love Fortnum’s Woodland Frost Crackers – they look magnificent on the table and contain gorgeous silver goodies that guests will genuinely want to take home. But they come at high cost, so for something more purse-friendly, our vote goes to Sainsbury’s Family Crackers that do just what they say on the tin and have a bargain price-tag.
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- Christmas 2015