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Christmas Crackers

Crackers were invented by London confectioner Tom Smith in 1847. He was inspired to add the "crackle" element when he heard the crackle of a log he'd just put on the fire. The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism, and the sweet itself was eventually dropped, to be replaced by a small gift. The other elements of the modern cracker, the gifts, paper hats and varied designs, were all introduced by Tom Smith's son, Walter Smith, as ways of distinguishing the company from the many copycat cracker manufacturers which had suddenly sprung up.

Christmas crackers, also known as bon-bons in Australia, are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth countries. A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly.

Traditions:

In one version of the tradition the person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. In another each person will have their own cracker and will keep its contents regardless of whose end they were in. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper. Crackers are often pulled after Christmas dinner or at parties.

 

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