No Christmas table is complete without a cracker! Shaped like a over sized wrapped sweet, the cracker is usually filled with cheap and cheerful goodies, paper hats and a short witty joke.
The Christmas cracker was invented in 1846 by Thomas Smith, a sweet maker in London. He would sell sugary almond sweets wrapped in bright coloured paper as gifts, inspired by the French ‘bon-bon’. In the early 1850’s, to increase sales, Thomas added short motto’s inside the wrapping – these were usually love notes as he found that it was mainly men buying for women. In 1860, Thomas added the banger, at first the creations were called ‘cosaques’, but soon became known as crackers. As the novelty item became more popular, many manufacturers attempted to imitate the cracker, so Thomas replaced the boiled sweet with a small gift – since then hats and jokes were added, creating the crackers we love today!
150 years on, a simple idea still lives on at the Christmas table and has become a key part of our celebrations and traditions, another Great British invention!
Image credit: lizjones112