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8 best luxury Christmas crackers: From L’Occitane beauty to Fever-Tree tipples

These festive showstoppers are bound to bring extravagance to the table

Emily Goddard
Friday 16 December 2022 17:28 GMT
We assesed the contents quality, planet-friendliness and whether the jokes earned a belly laugh
We assesed the contents quality, planet-friendliness and whether the jokes earned a belly laugh (The Independent )
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No Christmas table is complete without crackers. They’re arguably as important as the turkey, roast potatoes and brussels sprouts and have been part of our festive traditions for well over a century. From the snap to the gift, paper crown and, of course, the jokes, everyone from grandpa to our youngest relations gets a kick out of crackers at Christmas.

A brief history: crackers were invented by Tom Smith in the mid-1800s when the London-based confectioner was inspired by the sugared almond bonbons wrapped in a twist of tissue paper he had seen while on a trip to Paris. He later swapped out the sweets, filling the crackers with trinkets and snaps. And after his death, his sons took over the business and added paper hats.

Today’s crackers come in all sorts of designs and with various gifts, but they exist for the same purpose as the Tom Smith original: to bring an element of fun to the table. There are now crackers for pets, children and versions especially for adults – think boozy treats inside.

Of the most coveted, though, are the luxury Christmas crackers. Those festive dinner table mainstays that add a look of opulence and hold within gifts which won’t be discarded with the paper wrapping. Speaking of the wrapping, many are now recyclable, and some are even reusable over many Christmases.

And don’t worry about the cost of living crisis affecting your chances of luxury crackers sitting atop your table – some affordable options are just as special as even the most expensive brands.

How we tested

We searched for this year’s finest crackers from the brands you’d expect and some newer players in the field. We’ve included classic trinket crackers, those that can be given as gifts, food and drink delights and reusable crackers that we can see being used for generations.

Each cracker has been opened with a fellow tester, the contents assessed for quality and usability, the jokes tested for belly laughs and how friendly the components are to the planet. Perhaps most importantly, we considered the design of each and how much festive luxury they can bring to our tables. These are the ones that will give you bang for your buck.

The best luxury Christmas crackers for 2022 are:

  • Best overall luxury Christmas crackers – Harvey Nichols go crackers, box of six: £65,
  • Best for gifting – L’Occitane festive crackers collection, box of four: £22.50,
  • Best reusable Christmas crackers – Kaneo Celebrations reusable luxury crackers, box of six: £62,
  • Best for affordable luxury – Nancy & Betty Studio mistletoe luxury Christmas crackers, pack of six: £36,
  • Best for a chilled Christmas – OTO the calm traveller cracker: £34.30,
  • Best boozy crackers – Fever-Tree Christmas crackers: £8.50,
  • Best for children – Meri Meri candy cane shape crackers, box of six: £28,
  • Best luxury chocolate crackers – Melt London chocolate Christmas crackers: £49,

Harvey Nichols go crackers, box of six

Harvey Nichols go crackers, box of six .jpg
  • Best: Overall
  • Number of crackers: Six
  • Contents: Jar of Harvey Nichols jam, Damson gin liqueur, Harvey Nichols Champagne stopper,Minted by Harvey Nichols mints, slinky spring and a wooden whistle

The best luxury crackers have to be the ones that will bring the whole family joy this Christmas, and we think we’ve found them in these handmade Harvey Nichols go crackers. There really is something for everyone, from the adult gin and champagne stopper to the classic slinky spring that will keep little ones entertained. There is, of course, a joke and a gold or silver crown in each. The design is pretty minimalist with monochrome and silver Harvey Nichols branding, but that does mean they will sit pretty on the table however you decide to dress it. The packaging was predominantly recyclable cardboard, except for the bows, but we’ll be reusing these to decorate next year’s gifts.

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L’Occitane festive crackers collection, box of four

L’Occitane festive crackers collection, box of four .jpg
  • Best: For gifting
  • Number of crackers: Four
  • Contents: Each contains two L’Occitane minis, including cherry blossom hand cream, shea shower oil, almond delicious hands and verbena shower gel

Among the most important factors to consider when buying crackers is the usability of the gifts inside to ensure glee from those pulling them, and so that we don’t add a load of plastic to landfill. These crackers tick both boxes. Inside the cute cardboard crackers are two beautifully fragrant L’Occitane products, including shower gels and oils and hand creams. These don’t snap like traditional crackers, but they will be a hit with whoever receives them. This set is also excellent value for money because the products inside are worth £25.

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Kaneo Celebrations reusable luxury crackers, box of six

Kaneo Celebrations reusable luxury crackers, box of six .jpg
  • Best: Reusable Christmas crackers
  • Number of crackers: Six
  • Contents: Empty to fill with gifts of your choice

Recycling your Christmas crackers is great but reusing them year after year is even better, and these are the crème de la crème of reusable crackers and your new festive family heirloom. Made in a fine velvet fabric for that luxe look, these crackers are available in six fabulously named designs, including furrytail of New York and lord of the wings. We tested out the tartan Glen Coe-co variety, which was ludicrously festive with green, red and gold hues.

The crackers come with enough snaps and gold paper crowns for three parties and are ready to fill with gifts of your choice. There’s also a black chalkboard tag so that you can personalise each for your guests with chalk or use the gold sticky letters that come in the box. On the reverse of the tag is a QR code that takes you to a joke and a challenge that will have everyone around the table in fits. We love that these come in a robust presentation box that can be used for storage until next year to keep these beauties in perfect condition. Plus, 10 per cent of Kaneo’s sales go to the Salvation Army.

  1. £62 from
Prices may vary
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Nancy & Betty Studio mistletoe luxury Christmas crackers, pack of six

Nancy & Betty Studio mistletoe luxury Christmas crackers, pack of six .jpg
  • Best: For affordable luxury
  • Number of crackers : Six
  • Contents: Wooden honey drizzler, nutmeg grater, wooden plant labels, metal slinky, a wooden yoyo, faux leather keyring, wooden comb, washi tape, cookie cutter and mini strawberry jam

These handmade crackers give us luxury vibes without the unaffordable price tag. The thick recyclable paper crackers feature a pretty mistletoe illustration design, which is printed using vegetable-based inks, and green silky bows. Inside is a selection of plastic-free gifts for everyone in the family, including a wooden yoyo, a faux leather keyring and a mini jam, that we think will get plenty of use. And, of course, there are the hats and jokes for chuckles around the dinner table. As well as using sustainable paper to make these crackers, Nancy & Betty Studio plants one tree for every box sold to make these a genuinely sustainable buy.

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OTO the calm traveller cracker

OTO the calm traveller cracker .jpg
  • Best: For a chilled Christmas
  • Number of crackers: One
  • Contents: OTO CBD lip balm, hand balm and CBD roll-on

Does Christmas, for you, mean switching off from life’s worries and to-do lists? Or perhaps it’s hectic as you cram in lots of travelling to visit loved ones. Either way, this cracker is for you, or the perfect gift for that crazy-busy relative. The calm traveller from the high-end CBD brand is a wonderful treat that offers a chance to find a sanctuary of calm to reset. Inside the dreamy cardboard cracker is a trio of OTO’s finest naturally derived, UK-made products: a CBD lip balm, a hand balm and a roll-on. As you’d expect from the brand, the packaging is gorgeous and features recyclable glass. The cracker itself is also 100 per cent recyclable.

  1. £34 from
Prices may vary
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Fever-Tree Christmas crackers

Fever-Tree Christmas crackers .jpg
  • Best: Boozy crackers
  • Number of crackers: One
  • Contents: 50ml spirit, 150ml mixer

Bring festive cheer to your table this Christmas with these boozy crackers. They may have no snap, but they’ll be sure to set your party off with a bang. Each cardboard cracker contains a mini bottle of spirit and a perfectly paired Fever-Tree mixer – enough to get merry but not too merry.

We tried out the ultimate golden rum, duppy share aged rum, to be specific, and ginger ale (£8.50,, and the ultimate Mediterranean gin, Tarquin’s, and tonic (£8.50, The rum and ginger ale is a warming tipple full of festive feels, while the G&T is the ideal palate cleanser after a heavy meal. Besides these two pairings, there are many others, such as vodka, whisky and a whole array of gins, to enjoy – just not all at once.

  1. £8 from
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Meri Meri candy cane shape crackers, box of six

Meri Meri candy cane shape crackers, box of six .jpg
  • Best: For children
  • Number of crackers: Six
  • Contents: Character erasers, star brooches, paperclips and a metal puzzle

While some of the crackers in this round-up include gifts for children, we can imagine some adults being reluctant to share, so we’ve included these especially for little ones this Christmas. And they’re not your standard cracker either. Instead, they are shaped like candy canes and printed appropriately with a red and white stripe design brought to life with environmentally friendly glitter.

Kiddies will also love what’s inside, whether they get a cute animal eraser, paperclip, sparkling star brooch or puzzle – our young testers approved. They’ll also be keen to don their special party hats and share the rib-tickling jokes around the table. These are suitable for children aged eight and above.

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Melt London chocolate Christmas crackers

Melt London chocolate Christmas crackers.jpg
  • Best: Luxury chocolate crackers
  • Number of crackers: Six
  • Contents: Three chocolate bonbons

These crackers contain beautifully wrapped bonbons, which was inside the first-ever crackers made in 1847, and is a detail which had us charmed. Having these on the Christmas table means we can do away with separate chocolate favours on the big day, as the three richly indulgent titbits inside are more than enough after what’s often the heaviest meal we’ll eat all year.

The handmade chocolates are some of the best we’ve tasted – we’ve come to expect nothing less of Melt London – and our testing duo’s favourite was the seasonal white chocolate and cranberry. The dark soft centred gianduja bonbon and Christmas-spiced milk chocolate were also delicious. The design of the crackers could be a bit more festive; thank goodness for the shiny silver snowflakes to bring these into the season, but we can’t argue with the fact that they are plastic-free and recyclable – just be sure to reuse the ribbon bows.

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The verdict: Luxury Christmas crackers

We knew that our best buy would be a box of top-quality crackers with gifts for all the family without being hideously expensive. That’s why the Harvey Nichols go crackers are our top pick. A few swapsies might be needed at the table after they’ve been pulled, but we are confident these crackers have a gift that will please everyone.

If you want this year to be the last that you buy single-use crackers, you can do no better than buying Kaneo Celebrations’ reusable luxury crackers. The quality is exceptional, the designs fun, and we can see these being passed down through generations like vintage Christmas decorations. They’re also excellent value for money.

For thoughtul gift ideas, read our roundups of the best gifts for sisters and Christmas presents for Grandma – that you might just want to keep for yourself

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