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House & Garden

10 best Christmas crackers

Jokes, party hats and useful and not-so-useful goodies, crackers are all part of the Christmas fun. Here’s our pick of the best

1. Carluccio’s

New for this year, each of these smart crackers contains three delicious soft chocolate and hazelnut stars, as well as a hat and quiz question. Their retro look will smarten up any Christmas table and give it a nice Italian twist.

£12.95, carluccios.com

2. Lakeland

Whatever you do, don’t take out the crackers and ditch the box. There’s a racetrack in there that you’ll need for each of the delightful wind-up penguins that you get inside each cracker. Wind them up and watch them race to the finish line.

£14.99 for 6, lakeland.co.uk

3. Fortnum & Mason

Crackers don’t get more opulent than Fortnum’s, where a box of six can set you back £500. This more affordable (but still steep) option are  trimmed with velvet, brilliantly coloured and contain lavish silver-plated surprises, as well as playing a merry carol when you pull them.

£50 for 6, fortnumandmason.com

4. Tom Smith

This bumper back of family crackers are great for large Christmas gatherings. With half featuring Santa and the other half featuring Rudolf, they look smart, they’re not too flimsy and best of all they’re currently on special offer.

£4.89 for 12, ocado.com

5. Hotel Chocolat

If there’s one chocolate shop to visit ahead of Christmas, it’s Hotel Chocolat, where this year’s Christmas offerings this year are to die for. No wonder their ribbon tied crackers, which contain three of their chocolates, a party hat and joke, are proving such a hit.

From £4.50 each, hotelchocolat.com

6. Marks and Spencer

These fun drinks-themed crackers each contain a colour co-ordinating badge that you can match to the guest you think they best describe. There’s also a motto and the obligatory hat and they look really classy on the table too.

Now £5 for 6 (was £10), marksandspencer.com

7. Lakeland

You don’t need to be sat at the dinner table to enjoy a Christmas cracker. These sparkly cocktail ones look fabulous presented in a bowl at a party or buffet or even decorating the Christmas tree. There’s a hat, joke and pretty silver-plated charm.

£8.99 for 12, lakeland.co.uk

8. Poundland

If crackers aren’t something you want to splash out on this year, you could do worse than this set from Poundland that each contains a hat and a novelty gift. They’re not going to set the world on fire, but they do the job for a mere quid, which can’t be bad.

£1 for 8, poundland.co.uk

9. Asda 'Who am I'? game crackers

Why not get the whole family playing Asda’s 'Who am I?' cracker game this Christmas? You get a Cardboard Owl and Robin Masks and also 60 Who am I game cards. They’re great for gatherings where you need to break the ice or where you just want an extra excuse for a good giggle.

£6 for 8, asda.com

10.  John Lewis fill-your-own crackers

If you’re looking for an extra thoughtful touch for the Christmas dinner table this year, why not make your own crackers? This set enables you to personalise the gift your friends find inside and you get a hat, snap, motto and tag included for each one too.

£5 for 6, johnlewis.com