Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Every year my family includes Christmas Crackers with our holiday meals. Apparently this is a tradition adopted from the Brits, as DLang had never experienced such merriment until he was treated to a Christmas Chez Gutenberg. (I'm going to avoid reading the Christmas Cracker Wikipedia entry until after I've written this entry so as not to taint the reader's view with confirmation that my family really is a bunch of freakshows.)

For those of you not acquainted with Christmas Crackers, here's your primer. A Christmas Cracker is a tube about the size of a paper towel roll, tied so that it kind of looks like a big bon-bon. Running through the tube is a cardboard snappy thing, that when pulled apart, makes a snap kind of like a cap gun. All crackers contain a tissue-paper crown, a slip of paper with a joke, and a little prize.

My family has pretty strict rules about cracker usage. First of all, cracker-pulling is a two-person show. No exceptions. Each person holds one end of the cracker to pull it apart. My brother was particularly adamant about this rule this year. The next guideline is that you have to hold the end tightly enough to pull apart the cardboard snapper inside. This is kind of a given, but newbies tend to be light on the holding of the cracker, and it's disappointing not to hear the crack. (Sunny insists that you should hold the snapper between your fingers, but I prefer to just grab the whole end tightly.) And, you have to wear the paper crown. No exceptions to that, either.

This year we had two different brands of Chrismas Crackers. With Christmas morning pancakes at the Lesbians', we had extra-super-deluxe crackers from The Bay. Deniser brought these over and they were Fancy with a capital F. First, they were decked out with super-sparkly daisies, which I LOVED. Glitter everywhere. We cracked 'em open and found seriously the best prizes I've ever seen in a Christmas Cracker. For example: my prize was a little silver picture frame, and DLang got a little magnifying glass (that he actually really liked). The other sweet thing about these crackers is that each of the six crackers came with a different coloured crown! The jokes were corny, but hey, good clean wholesome fun often is.

Later at Shirley's, we had President's Choice Deluxe crackers. The prizes were considerably less good than The Bay's. My "prize" was a luggage tag (booooring). Dos got a keychain-whistle which wasn't bad, and a couple of the prizes were Christmas-themed (DLang got a little Santa tin), which is kind of OK. The crowns were festively red and green.

The PC version is a much better value (I don't know exactly how much they cost, but I'm pretty sure my mom wouldn't have paid more than $20 for the 8 crackers, while The Bay's version rang up at $30 for 6), but if you wanted to impress a date or something, The Bay's are worth the splurge.

I have grand plans to make my own crackers with kickass prizes for next year. I was thinking it would also be a nifty way to propose to someone (make your own cracker with the ring as the prize), but I also have visions of the cracker-pull resulting in the ring flying into some heating grate somewhere. I think I'll stick to mini-staplers and the like.

1 comment:

Becca & Brian said...

Ok, really funny story about Christmas "crackers" - I had a slew of contractors leave the team in early December. They were all so awesome, I took them out to lunch and made them little gift bags filled with edible goodies. I was shopping around CostPlus for said goodies and collected some yummy marzipan candies, chocolates and mini cheeses. They also had boxes of crackers (you see where I'm going with this already, huh). I had no idea the Christmas crackers were miniature pinatas... I honestly thought they were rolls of Ritz wafers. So I included them in the gift bags. My friend shopping with me watched me do this and knew full well I was in error (probably me saying, "let's get these cheeses to go with the crackers" gave it away), but she let me proceed.

It was fine, because you're right, the Christmas cracker is good clean fun -- even funnier when revealed what a dope I am. Though it did make the little hunks of cheese in the bags of candy seem very out of place.