The History of the Christmas Cracker

The iconic Christmas cracker has been part of the Christmas traditional since Victorian times, and you can safely say that a Christmas meal doesn’t feel quite right if the Christmas crackers are missing.

About the Christmas cracker

Each┬áChristmas, people all over Britain pull crackers at the start of their Christmas meal. Traditionally, whoever pulls the bigger half of the cracker wins the small gift inside, but nowadays there’s enough crackers for everyone and each person at the table will get to keep their gift. There is always a joke (usually cringe-worthy) and a paper hat, which should be worn throughout the Christmas meal.

Where did it all begin?

Tom Smith created the first Christmas cracker. He was a London-based confectioner who was inspired by the paper-wrapped sugared almonds he saw in France. Tom Smith invented a sweet-filled wrapper that could be pulled apart by two hands, an idea that his three sons continued to develop into an exciting new business venture later on.

How did it evolve over time?

By the end of the 19th century the company produced a wide range of different themed crackers. From bachelor and spinster-themed versions with false teeth and jewellery gifts, to luxurious crackers for royalty and millionaires, which included gold and silver.

Often men would give Christmas crackers to women, and instead of jokes there would be short love poems accompanied with sweets. Later in the early 20th century, these love poems were replaced by the jokes we all know (and love to hate!).

A few of the worst Christmas cracker jokes in history

Christmas cracker jokes, by and large, are intentionally bad. Of course, what makes Christmas cracker jokes so funny is the fact that they are so bad! Here are some of our favourites:

  • Who delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas?
    Santa Jaws
  • Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing?
    They always drop their needles!
  • Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
    A mince spy!