Christmas Crackers with non-awful gifts
December 2, 2016 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Crackers are a christmas tradition in my family, we all like the bad hats and bad jokes but I always hate the silly cheap toys, especially because every year some child gets excited by their cracker present and then dissapointed when they try and play with it and work out it is rubbish.(sometimes this child is 29yr old me) Can Mefi reccomend some christmas crackers with fun, well made gifts inside?
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I can't remember why I was looking for this at one point, but I stumbled on this store. They have a range of crackers and list the contents so you can choose things that are a bit less junky.
posted by goggie at 1:52 PM on December 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

The Indy has a list of their "17 Best Christmas Crackers", which might be a good starting-point.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 1:54 PM on December 2, 2016

Honestly, they don't exist, not really. Not, at least, as good as the ones you can make yourself. Buy large sized super cheap crackers & it's surprisingly easy to do a bit of keyhole surgery and smoosh in a present. Tiny toiletaries, lego mini-packs, squeaky rubber rats and, er, sequinned thongs have all fallen out at our family gatherings and it is always a joy.
posted by AFII at 2:51 PM on December 2, 2016 [9 favorites]

If you've got silly money to spend, then there's always Fortnum's.

I like the idea of fabricating your own out of bargain basement ones. Alternatively, M&S has a DIY kit as part of its "Nordic Noël" line, with everything apart from the gifts, while its pre-made "Festive Forest" ones have some nice little trinkets.
posted by holgate at 2:58 PM on December 2, 2016

From the department of "yes, I realize that I am a little eccentric," I have made my own crackers using these instructions. You have to buy the snaps from the internet, but I think they arrived pretty quickly. But yes, keyhole surgery would probably be easier.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:24 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I made crackers for my wedding..about 120 of them. They are easy.
posted by Ftsqg at 5:33 PM on December 2, 2016

I have found it quite easy to open brand new Christmas crackers, insert my own customized contents and reseal them again ready to bring out at the Christmas party. Buy a box of cheap ones and experiment. If you can get them open without tearing them they can be stuffed with many delightful little trifles found at the toy store, hobby store, jewellery store, home made gifts, and much nicer contents.

If you can't get them open without tearing them examine how they are made. The only part you need to keep intact is the two cardboard strips with the "gunpowder" that makes the bang when they get pulled. Use nice metallic Christmas wrapping paper to make your own crackers.

If you end up re-making the crackers, get a friend/family member to join you in the project and re-make some of the crackers for you so you won't know what is in them. Individual crackers can be customized for different family members, the outsides tagged, or wrapped in individualized paper. If someone in your family is a poet they can write a few lines of doggerel for each recipient. The festive party hats in cheap crackers are sometimes one size fits nobody, so make sure they are a reasonable size and can be worn before you put them back.

One long-ago Christmas when I was a small child we got Christmas crackers. It was my first experience with them. I got a little black tube thing, like a plastic whistle that didn't work. My mother got an adorable little tin paint box with eight little cakes of water colour paint, two indents in the lid for mixing colours, and a little paint brush. I was sadly jealous. I would have been much more disgruntled had I realised that the little black tube thing that I got was a cigarette holder!
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:09 PM on December 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Lots of beauty brands do Christmas Crackers for the Holiday season.
posted by SarahElizaP at 8:35 PM on December 2, 2016

We used to make our own with the snaps, toilet paper/ paper towel cardboard rolls and wrapping paper plus whatever you want to go inside including the traditional awful joke.
posted by poxandplague at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2016

(re. making your own, I meant to say it is nearly always cheaper to buy crappy crackers than buy the cracker-making kits; generally the insertion method of choice is just to open one 'end' and push the extra contents into the central tube. Don't do what my aunt did & tape the presents to the outside of the cracker because they didn't fit)
posted by AFII at 12:39 AM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

lego mini-packs

Grab a bunch of Minifigures. It's Lego, they're relatively cheap (£2.5 for non-themed series, IIRC) and some of the figures are fantastic.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:17 AM on December 3, 2016

One year, we had crackers which contained a set of mini-whistles, each set to a different note. One person got the "conductor" cracker which contained a baton and "scores"- they then conducted the Christmas Dinner Orchestra by pointing at individuals in turn, who played their note on their whistle, and in this fashion simple tunes and carols were performed. It was very merry and completely overwrote the expectations/disappointments of the usual cracker gift.
Musical Concerto Crackers

Amnesty International sell these re-usable crackers within which you could put your own idea of a good gift and a good joke, if you feel like making the effort.
posted by mymbleth at 4:19 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Team makeyourown here. I did last year, and it was fun personalizing the tiny gifts!
posted by greermahoney at 11:04 PM on December 3, 2016

I also made my own last year. There's really nothing going to be better than gifts you buy yourself.

One year, we had crackers which contained a set of mini-whistles, each set to a different note.

We did those too! I'd choose tuned bells if I were to do it again, because we were 7 and had 8 whistles- very difficult to coordinate.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:55 PM on December 4, 2016

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