Quintessentially British: Christmas Crackers

As most of my readers know by now, I love the very essence of English style.  So each month, I would like to share with you some of what speaks to me about the British style…” quintessentially British”.



Christmas Crackers for Your Collected Holiday Tabletop

What better time to share my love for all things British than at the Christmas holiday.  British Christmas rituals have remained largely unchanged for several hundred years and there is something very comforting about these traditions.  Traditions are very important at Chestnut Cottage  and one quintessentially British custom that both young and old enjoy at our holiday gatherings is English Christmas Crackers!

English history tells us how Thomas Smith , a London pastry chef , was inspired by the French style of wrapping sweets in pretty twists of paper, and invented the festive English Christmas Crackers.  This Victorian Christmas tradition remains popular today in the United Kingdom and  Ireland , as well as the United States.

Crackers are typically pulled at the Christmas dinner table.  In one version of the cracker tradition, the person with the larger portion of the cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps all of  the “treasures”.  In another version, each person has their own cracker at their place setting and keeps the entire content of the cracker. This is the process at Chestnut Cottage!  Cracker contents can be a wide variety of items, and I find that if you look “across the pond” to the UK, you will find that the contents of their crackers are chic and wonderful. Often  our domestic crackers are filled with trinkets that are thrown away immediately after dinner!

One of my favorite sources for Christmas crackers in the UK is Cox & Cox.  I love the Musical Crackers!

And  for really exquisite contents, go to Classic Crackers, and fill your own!!  These lovely crackers are handmade and are left open at one end for you to drop in your gifts.  Then close the end with the ribbon that comes in the package , and you have your own very creative Christmas crackers.

I particularly love the Black and Silver Christmas Tree.  Perhaps with some Champagne Truffles inside!

And the Classic Cracker Name Card Crackers serve both as a place card and your Christmas cracker!

And be certain not to leave out your favorite canine friend…they love Christmas crackers too.  (Image)

On your 2011 Collected Holiday Tabletop, why not have this Quintessentially British custom!

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3 Responses to Quintessentially British: Christmas Crackers

  1. Yonks says:

    Yes, a Great British tradition indeed. We will have our all ready for Sunday and will all dutifully sit around the dining table wearing our paper crowns! I don’t remember seeing them in the USA? It was one Christmas tradition I missed when I lived there. Do you have to buy them abroad?
    Happy holidays!

  2. Franki Parde says:

    Looking forward to all!! franki

  3. Terrific idea- so festive and fun!

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