Have you ever felt that crackers are just a bit lacklustre these days? The random plastic throwaway gifts inside aren't exactly thrilling and nor are they any good for the environment.
Well, you can always make your own. It's much easier than you would think plus they're far cheaper than the shop bought versions. Plus you can decorate them the way you want, use better gifts, personalise the gifts for the recipients and if you're environmentally conscious you can make them plastic free too.
Takes 1hr - 1.5hrs
To make 12 crackers you will need:
- Wrapping paper (45 inches or 114 cm long)
- 14 loo rolls
- Curling ribbon (or raffia type ribbon if you're going plastic free)
- Cellotape (or plastic free tape)
- A pencil
- A ruler or measuring tape
- 12 snappers (bought cheaply from ebay along with the hats)
- 12 paper hats
- Firstly you will need to cut out your paper rectangles to wrap around the loo rolls. Measure out a 7.5 inch wide (19 cm) strip of wrapping paper, and cut out this out. Then mark out 12 inches high (30 cm) and cut this out. You will be able to get two 12 inch long rectangles from each strip. Cut out another 5 strips of paper, each 7.5 inches wide so you will get 12 paper rectangles.
- Position a snapper about one inch away from the edge of a paper rectangle and stick it to the paper with cellotape. Position the cellotape about one inch from either end of the snapper.
- Position 3 loo rolls along the long edge of the paper rectangle and cellotape the middle loo roll to the edge of the paper.
- Tightly roll the paper around the rolls and secure the other edge with tape. I like to fold the other edge slightly to give a crisp edge. If you wish you can use double sided tape for a more professional look.
- Cut a length of ribbon to a minimum of 12 inches (longer if you would like lots of curls or fancy bows).
- Pull out one of the loose loo rolls by about 1.5 inches and twist the cracker so it crumples in the gap. Tie the ribbon tightly around the crumpled paper and double knot it.
- Fill the other side with your chosen gifts, then pull out the other loo roll by 1.5 inches, twist the cracker and tie another piece of ribbon tightly around the crumpled paper.
- Your cracker is now complete and ready do decorate however you wish. That's creative fun part.
- Your crackers can be made way in advance of the big day and left open on one side ready to be filled later on. This is what I do as it spreads out the festive workload. Just remember to keep a loo roll handy for when you crumple the other end of the crackers.
Ideas for filling your crackers
- Obviously jokes can be included, but they can be more risque than the shop bought crackers or the jokes can even be personalised. As an alternative to jokes how about riddles, verses, expressions of love and thanks or prayers.
- Chocolates and sweets are always crowd pleasers in handmade crackers. Chocolate coins, packets of Haribo or small chocolates found in the big selection tubs are perfect.
- Scratch cards are a fun alternative cracker filler or even lottery tickets. If using lottery tickets I recommend the Irish Lottery as it's much cheaper than the National Lottery, and you can choose just 3 numbers so the chance of having a winning ticket is much more likely. Albeit with a smaller prize. These are available from your local bookmaker.
- Small trinkets such as keyrings, trolley tokens, cigarette lighters, costume jewellery, perfume testers, a phone stylus, party poppers, party bubbles, a packet of screws, wall plugs, hair grips, colourful key caps, bottle openers, stationery, lip balm, snooker chalk.....whatever you can think of that the recipient would find useful.
- Or if you are feeling generous how about small bottles of alcohol, bracelet charms or small scented candles.
The only limit is your imagination. Have fun making your handmade crackers and have a very Merry Christmas from the Togri Team.