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Christmas crackers - traditionally a lot of waste for a little fun!

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

I remember enjoying Christmas crackers as a child and there could never be too many of them! We would have one each at the dinner table and then we would always ask if we could pull the spare ones in the box. And they weren’t just for Christmas day, we would have more on Boxing day, more when friends and family came over for yet another festive dinner and they would even come out on New Years Day. As kids we couldn’t get enough of them!

My kids have too grown up with crackers for Christmas Day lunch and other meals over the Christmas period and they too would go through boxes if allowed. We had the standard crackers for years – the ones with the plastic yo yos, plastic combs, plastic paper clips and the infamous flipping fortune telling fish! The ones with the same joke in at least three crackers so before the person that was telling their joke had finished others at the table had finished it for them! Needless to say the enjoyment wasn’t long lasting and the rubbish filled a bag from your supermarket of choice.

I then tried crackers with supposedly better quality gifts and some with games inside, you know the charade crackers, the ones with the wind up plastic penguin racers and such like. These had slightly more entertainment/enjoyment value, but still the end result was always the same. All of the cracker fillings would be put in a bowl when the table was cleared after Christmas dinner (or more normally to make room for the dinner) and the bowl would sit untouched, usually until the kids were back at school, when the contents would finally make their way to the bin. After all, how many golf tees does one need? Sounding familiar?

I can’t remember how I stumbled across ‘fill your own’ crackers but these became my go to for a number of years. I would fill them with a chocolate treat and a scratch card and they were always well received. Then last year whilst walking around a store I was overcome by the desire to buy a box of beautiful looking crackers with all the trimmings, glitter, ribbons, beads. It’s true they looked great on the table (if not a little big for the plate) but as soon as they were pulled and I realised the huge and expensive amount of waste (much of which couldn’t be recycled) that filled yet another carrier bag I decided that this would be the last time I would buy such crackers.

I had planned to return to the usual fill your own crackers but then in August this year I wrapped a Japanese themed present for my niece’s birthday with a beautiful Furoshiki cloth. It was not my first experience of Furoshiki, in fact a close friend sells these in her online store ( but this time I was captivated by the simplicity and creativity of this stylish yet sustainable method of wrapping. I can’t say the cracker idea came to mind in that very instance but sometime after the idea came calling and The Alternative Cracker Company was born.

We launch with both a Furoshiki inspired cracker and a more traditional looking cracker and they promise to address the huge issue of Christmas waste. What I didn’t realise at the time however was that the simple act of choosing an environmentally friendly Christmas cracker could make such a big difference to the environment - and that's a future blog! I’ve seen articles calling for Christmas crackers to be banned but if we’re more environmentally conscious then why can’t we continue the tradition of crackers and enjoying seeing the look of delight on small faces (and big faces) as they ‘snap’ a cracker, share a funny joke and receive a small gift.

Check out our eco friendly Christmas crackers and special occasion crackers here.

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