Thanks in part to the BBC Blue Planet series there’s a huge and growing public awareness of the desperate need to cut down on our use of plastic, particularly single use plastic. With Christmas fast approaching we have a fabulous opportunity to make small changes that can have a big positive impact on our planet.
We’ve always made our own Christmas crackers; it’s a Christmas Eve tradition that involves children of all ages. It helps to keep potential over-excitement at bay by engaging them in some messy painting and gluing, which then provides some unique memory making moments when the crackers are pulled over Christmas dinner the next day.
On seeing a growing online drive to create plastic free crackers, we thought we would share our cracker own making. Our festive tradition takes things to a whole new level, as the crackers are 100% recycled and are wholly recyclable after they’ve provided that moment of fun!
They’re so easy peasy to make, and you can make your own rules here, but if you need some inspiration, you can follow our guidelines below.
How about including a promise instead of a present?
One last top-tip. If you want to make your crackers extra special but completely cost free, how about including a promise instead of a present? When you’re writing out your cheesy jokes, why not write a promise of your time, something like a night’s baby-sitting, or to do the Christmas dinner washing
- Gather your materials. We’re using an old copy of The Observer, some old loo-rolls, an old envelope (for cutting up to write the jokes), some recycled Christmas gifts- we’re using recycled copper key-rings from Cycle of Good , some paint, an old sponge, some PVA glue and scissors and garden twine or jute string.
- Cut your newspaper into pieces approximately 30cm by 20cm (or handily, a quarter page of The Observer)
- Cut a Christmassy shaped stencil from an old piece of card or thick paper, we’ve opted for a star. Place it on your cut newspaper pieces and sponge paint over the top, lift the stencil and continue until your old newspaper has a lovely home-made Christmas look. Leave to dry.
- Cut some strips of paper approximately 80cm by 8cm to make the paper hats for inside the crackers. Fold over and cut a triangle shape at the top, unfold to see your flat paper crown. Sponge paint in the same way as you did for the cracker wrappers.
- While your paint is drying, write out your cheesy jokes, because every cracker needs a cheesy joke! We went to Cycling Weekly and borrowed their best and worst cycling jokes for our bike themed crackers. We wrote them out onto slips of paper cut from an old envelope, so they’re recycled too!.
- Fix your paper crowns into circles with a little PVA glue or some paper tape. Roll loosely so they fit inside your toilet roll. Add your gift; we’re using recycled gifts, and your joke.
- Place the loo roll on your painted newspaper and roll up. Gather the ends and tie using a little jute string.
But what about the cracks I hear you ask?! Aren’t crackers supposed to snap when pulled?
Done! All ready to pull on Christmas day. But what about the cracks I hear you ask?! Aren’t crackers supposed to snap when pulled? Well, the presence of a nervy Border Collie in our house means that we opt for crack free crackers… otherwise we have a shaky dog hiding under the dinner table for the duration of the meal. But if you insist on being totally traditional, it is possible to by cracker snaps online.