What can I reuse or recycle to make Christmas crackers?

I’ve had “make crackers” on my ideas list for a while and every time I saw it, I thought “mmm crackers” but it turns out I meant Christmas crackers. (Although I do make a good eatin’ cracker as well – I’d highly recommend these honey glazed fennel seed ones, and am perfecting the ingredient levels on my own varieties too.)

So… Christmas crackers. In one of the many, many newspaper articles about having a frugal Christmas during the New Austerity Age, I read that making Christmas crackers is a false economy – because it often costs more to make them at home than you can buy them for in the shops.

But money isn’t everything – homemade ones can be a lot lower waste – using up household rubbish and can contain actually useful (or delicious) prizes rather than bits of plastic tat.

There are many tutorials online for making basic crackers out of toilet rolls tubes and squares of Christmas wrapping paper (with purpose-bought crackers snaps for that bit of bang) but I wondered if anyone had any ideas for making them more interesting or creative.

Is it possible to make reusable Christmas crackers? The body refillable each year?

And does anyone make their own paper hats to go inside them?

(There is a strong “reduce” angle here obviously – both to save on money and waste, but for many people they’re an essential part of the Christmas tradition so best try to reduce as much as possible by reusing and recycling instead.)

(If you’re saying to yourself “what on earth is a Christmas cracker?”, just ignore this post – it’s a silly British thing.)

(There are a lot of asides in this post, aren’t there?)

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3 Responses to “What can I reuse or recycle to make Christmas crackers?”

  1. Cipollina says:

    When I was a child, we never bought crackers, but got them from the various societies that arranged parties for the children during the week between yule and new year (every kid got one in the bag of sweets and pressies from you-know-who). Some we pulled, but most were so pretty that we never pulled them because we never managed to put them back together the same way. The ones we pulled got put together again and hung on the tree together with the non-pulled. Point is, the bang wasn’t all that interesting, and I found the hats (there were paper hats inside ours – not sure whether this is normal elsewhere) outright silly – I was after the decorative aspect, and I still have them now 30 years later.

  2. Linda says:

    If you had a tube slightly narrower than another you could slide partially inside each other as a reusable cracker. Securing the two together with a dot of weak glue? Secure the prize to a random end or a small prize to each end?
    NZ ones have a paper hat, slip of paper with a joke and a piece of plastic junk. You could do better with better jokes, useful prizes such as a small pencil, chalk, homemade sweet, small recycled jewellery, dried herb sachet, etc..

  3. If you made them out of fabric and cardboard tubes, you’d get crackers that don’t crack (you pull off the ribbon on one end to release the goodies instead) but can be reused year after year.

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