17 best Christmas crackers you can buy in 2022 | The Sun
16th December 2022

CHRISTMAS dinner would not be complete without the best Christmas crackers lining the glitter-strewn table, ready to be pulled, with the terrible jokes that lie within waiting to be shared.

For a festive tradition that's been around since the 1800s, they're still going strong and are now a staple of any family Christmas dinner, dodgy paper crowns and all.

But, gone are the days when Christmas crackers used to contain a simple paper hat, joke and a rubbish plastic toy.

Now, they can be packed with all kinds of goodies, like jewellery and beauty gifts, or posh food and drink items.

Of course, you can still find Christmas crackers with the classics, like fun games and magic tricks, as well as DIY 'fill-your-own' versions, which allow you to put in whatever bits and bobs you like.

You'll also find eco-friendly crackers that are more sustainable, made without glitter or plastic so they can be recycled after the big reveal.

From cheap and cheerful to luxury, we've rounded up the best Christmas crackers.

Best Christmas crackers at a glance:

  1. Best plastic-free crackers: Hallmark 100% Plastic Free, Luxury Christmas Crackers
  2. Best luxurious crackers: Fortnum's Georgian Elegance Crackers
  3. Best chocolate crackers: Mini Chocolate Christmas Crackers
  4. Best leafy crackers: Oak Leaves & Acorns Luxury Christmas Crackers
  5. Best fudge crackers: Fudge Kitchen Luxury Christmas Crackers in two Festive Colours
  6. Best berry crackers: John Lewis Community Garden Berries Christmas Crackers
  7. Best re-usable crackers: NotOnTheHighstreet Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers
  8. Best decorative crackers: Selfridges Father Christmas graphic-print paper Christmas Crackers

Hallmark 100% Recyclable 6 Luxury Crackers

  • Hallmark 100% Recyclable 6 Luxury Crackers, £10.73 from Amazon – buy here

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These 100% recyclable Christmas crackers from Hallmark, available on Amazon, may be value for money at just over a tenner, but they're anything but basic.

They come in festive red and white check design and contain a hat, joke, festive activity and small gift like a bottle opener, nailclippers and a mini ruler.

The crackers are completely plastic free (with metal gifts), and made with FSC certified cardboard which is adorned with a paper twine detail which is all 100% recyclable.

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Fortnum & Mason The Georgian Elegance Crackers

  • The Georgian Elegance Crackers, £65 from Fortnum & Mason – buy here

Wholesome and luxurious, the Georgian Elegance crackers from Fortnum & Mason are quaint and useful.

Inside each of the six crackers are recipes from the department store's cook book including, hot chocolate with salted caramel marshmallow and Welsh rarebit toasties which are each accompanied by a classic paper crown and a miniature kitchen utensil that matches the recipe inside.

Everything is fully recyclable – except for ribbons, bows and trims which can be reused – and you won't miss out on cracker classics as alongside the paper crown, you'll also find jokes to liven up your Christmas feast.

Hotel Chocolat Mini Chocolate Christmas Crackers

  • Mini Chocolate Christmas Crackers, £18 from Hotel Chocolat – buy here

For an indulgence that doesn't break the bank, look no further than Hotel Chocolat's mini chocolate Christmas crackers.

For £18, you get ten mini crackers that each have one of the three bestselling chocolates inside: Pecan Praline, Salted Caramel and Billionaire's Shortbread.

Perfect for setting on the table or balancing on the tree, there are enough of these little crackers to see up to a family of five through Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Fortnum's Terrific Tipples Crackers

  • Fortnum's Terrific Tipples Crackers, £150 from Fortnum & Mason – buy here

For something super luxe this Christmas, the Cheers crackers from Fortnum & Mason are a must.

Each of the six crackers contains one of the following:

  • London Dry Gin (5cl)
  • Sloe Gin (5cl)
  • London White Rum (5cl)
  • Ling Heather Honey Gin (5cl)
  • Chocolate & Chestnut Liqueur (5cl)
  • English Framboise Liqueur (5cl)

They'll also come with cocktail recipes from the brand's master mixologists so you'll know exactly what to do with your tipples.

Plus, you won't be without the trusty paper crown and jokes that are a staple in Christmas crackers. Bottoms up.

John Lewis Community Garden Berries Christmas Crackers

  • John Lewis Community Garden Berries Christmas Crackers, £35 from John Lewis – buy here

Inspired by local allotments, these crackers from John Lewis are more like traditional offerings except for you won't find any plastic toys in sight.

Keeping good on its pledge to keep its cracker contents plastic free, you'll find wooden knick-knacks inside along with a paper hat and a motto.

Packaged beautifully with a velvet ribbon, these will look lovely on your Christmas table.

Nancy & Betty Oak Leaves and Acorns Christmas Crackers

  • Nancy & Betty Oak Leaves and Acorns Christmas Crackers, £36 from Nancy & Betty – buy here

These eco-friendly paper crackers are a must if you're concerned about waste.

Containing garden related gifts, you'll find the following inside:

  • Wooden honey drizzler
  • Nutmeg grater
  • Mini strawberry jam,
  • Luxury tea
  • Wild flower seeds
  • Wooden plant labels,
  • Metal slinky
  • Garden twine
  • Wooden yoyo

As sweet as they are useful, these gifts are more than just little tokens and for six, it won't cost you the earth.

Harvey Nichols Go Crackers

  • Harvey Nichols Go Crackers Luxury Crackers, £65 from Harvey Nichols – buy here

Harvey Nichols and luxury go hand in hand, and the same can be said for its Christmas crackers.

Inside you'll find the traditional party hats as well as treats like Harvey Nichols jam, a champagne stopper, mints and a potentially very annoying wooden whistle. But what's Christmas without a bit of pointless-gift related irratation?

Coming in sleek black and silver packaging, these feel like the James Bond of crackers, and just like 007, they go off with a literal bang.

Forever Christmas Reuseable Christmas Cracker

  • Forever Crackers The Elves Made Me Do It Reusable Christmas Cracker, now £95 from Amara – buy here

Okay, these are an investment piece because once you've bought these, you'll never have to pick up a pack of Christmas crackers again.

Made from silk and linen, inside there's a matching material crown that slots inside but otherwise, they've been left empty to fill with personal gifts year on year.

For the first year, you'll be able to use the jokes that come with, but for the years that follow, write your own on some paper and slip inside.

Unwrap like a sweet wrapper and enjoy.

evelay Make Your Own Crackers

  • evelay Make Your Own Christmas Cracker Kit, £11.99 from Amazon – buy here

Calling all creative types: instead of buying pre-made Christmas crackers this year, turn it into a fun crafty afternoon with the whole family and make your own.

These Christmas crackers include 12 hats, 12 cracker barrels and snaps, 12 jokes and 24 ribbon ties.

You can personalise each cracker by adding a special gift in each one like rolled up scratch cards, sweets, homemade gifts, make-up, or even a rolled-up pair of socks!

Paperchase Multicoloured 12 Days of Christmas Crackers

  • Multicoloured 12 Days of Christmas Crackers, £20 from Paperchase – buy here

Coming in a lovely festive print whilst still being recyclable, these Christmas crackers from stationery-giant Paperchase are a great addition to any table.

Just because they're eco-friendly doesn't mean they're boring: they're completely customisable, allowing you to fill each cracker with your own surprise.

You could add stationery like rubbers, sharpeners or crayons for kids – or miniatures of booze for the adults. The choice is yours!

Bespoke & Oak Co. Personalised Handwritten Christmas Cracker

  • Bespoke & Oak Co. Personalised Handwritten Christmas Cracker, £30 from Not On The High Street – buy here

For a truly personalised feel around the festive table, these crackers by Bespoke & Oak Co. from Not On the High Street are the perfect choice for impressing your guests.

Each cracker has a handwritten name in your choice of colour, along with a coordinating ribbon. Sticking to the homemade theme, they're supplied for you to make them up at home – which could be a fun activity for the kids to get involved in, too.

They also come with chocolate to pop inside, or you can of course get creative and add your own gifts.

Clear Crystal Swarovski Luxury Christmas Crackers

  • Luxury Christmas Crackers created with Swarovski Crystals, from £29.99 at Clear Crystal – buy here

It's safe to assume that your guests will be impressed when they sit down to Christmas dinner and discover a Swarovski Christmas cracker.

Available from jewellery retailer Clear Crystal, each cracker is sure to satisfy thanks to a decadent selection of gifts; including 8mm drop earrings, an infinity bracelet and atomiser perfume/aftershave.

There are crackers aimed towards men and women, as well as the option to select unisex items such as a Zippo-style lighter and a wine bottle stop.

Plus, to make things extra luxurious in this indulgent season, you can even opt to have some Lindt chocolates included.

Neal & Wolf Miracle Rapid Blow-Dry Mist Christmas Cracker

  • Miracle Rapid Blow-Dry Mist Christmas Cracker, £20 from Neal & Wolf – buy here

A Neal & Wolf bestseller, the Miracle Rapid Blow-Dry Mist has been packaged up in a delightful Christmas cracker to celebrate the festive season.

Formulated to quickly dry hair and protect against heat damage, it's the perfect accessory for your tablescape this year.

Plus, five crackers have a golden ticket inside which means a bundle of Neal & Wolf products worth £150 for you and your salon. Merry Christmas indeed.

Fudge Kitchen Luxury Christmas Crackers

  • Luxury Christmas Crackers, £20 from Fudge Kitchen – buy here

Calling all fudge fans – we've found your perfect Christmas cracker.

Inside the festive packaging you'll find three types of fudge: sea salted caramel, chocolate orange and speculoos (which is the flavour of a Biscoff lotus biscuit in case you were unsure) but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if you've never been a fan) you won't find a paper hats inside these six crackers.

Egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free and alcohol-free, these are suitable for veggies, but not vegans owing to the butter, milk and cream.

Q+A Merry and Bright Cracker

  • Q+A Merry and Bright Cracker, now £10 from Q+A – buy here

For an extra little skincare gift this Christmas, pick up a couple of these Q+A crackers.

Containing not one, but two full size products, you'll be able to give your skin a pick me up with an activated charcoal face mask and an antioxidant face mask.

For just a tenner, your skin will thank you.

Father Christmas graphic-print paper Christmas crackers pack of six

  • Father Christmas graphic-print paper Christmas crackers pack of six, £42 from Selfridges – buy here

Selfridges' jolly Santa-style crackers make amazing decorations.

They might be £42, but you're getting some really good looking crackers with great classic gifts inside, from crayons to wooden spinners.

But, we'd probably just keep these for display because they're so lovely.

NotOnTheHighstreet Christmas Crackers

  • Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers, £14.95 from NotOnTheHighstreet – buy here

From wrapping paper to crackers, Christmas can be really wasteful so why not go eco-friendly with these reusable gems from NotOnTheHighstreet.

As they're made from fabric, you can simply reuse and refill. They even work wonders as a fancy gift wrap idea.

Customers have given them great reviews online too.

How much are the best Christmas crackers?

We hate to say it, but you get what you pay for when it comes to Christmas crackers – and when the gifts inside are flimsy little plastic things, it's often the case that cheap crackers just result in unnecessary waste.

We recommend shopping prices around £10 and up for good quality Christmas crackers. You'll notice the difference, with better paper quality and a better selection of gifts that you'll actually use.

Where to buy the best Christmas crackers

You can't go wrong with department stores like John Lewis and Selfridges when shopping for festive traditions like Christmas crackers. There's always a good choice of price points too, which is great if you're looking for quality that's affordable.

Similarly, card shops like Paperchase always have a good selection, while if you're looking for true luxury and decadence, the likes of Fortnum & Mason and Harrods are the height of festive extravagance. Just be prepared for eye-watering price tags!

You'll also find plenty of online options. The choice can be overwhelming, but we love websites like Not On the High Street and Etsy, where you can support independent businesses, and often find something more unique than the shop-bought standards.

What can I put in my homemade Christmas crackers?

Homemade Christmas crackers are a lovely way to bring some personalisation to your seasonal decor – plus it's always a fun activity for the family to help with and get in the festive spirit!

Besides the obvious (and foolproof) option of chocolates, there are some cute ideas you can fill your crackers with, depending on your guests tastes. Here are some of our favourite suggestions:

  • Mini bathbombs, creams, lip balms or nail varnishes
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • A miniature bottle of liquor
  • A personalised keyring
  • A handwritten note containing a fact about that person or a challenge/dare
  • An engagement ring (hint hint)

What makes Christmas crackers pop?

There are few sounds – and smells – more evocative of Christmas than the snapping of a cracker. And of course, then there's the satisfaction of being the person to get the winning end!

The pop of a cracker is all down to a combination of silver fulminate (an explosive chemical compound) and sandpaper, which are applied to two strips of card inside the cracker tube.

Pulling a cracker essentially creates friction between the two strips, causing the silver fulminate strip to heat up and 'explode' with a bang.

When was the cracker invented?

If you've ever wondered about the origins of the Christmas cracker, history takes us back to 1847, where a confectioner and baker called Tom Smith came across the ‘bon bon’ in Paris.

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Taking the sweet back to London, Smith began selling them wrapped in a twist of tissue paper, before later adding the explosive element – which was inspired by the crackle of a log thrown on a fire.

A few modifications later, Smith had added a surprise gift and christened his new product 'Cosaques'. By the 1920s, his crackers were advertised with the slogan "World Renowned Christmas Crackers. No party complete without them" – and the rest, as they say, is history!

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