For someone who is not overly fussed with Christmas, I still cannot resist a Christmas themed craft! Last year I set myself the challenge of making homemade gifts for everyone, yes everyone. It took ages and in hindsight I should have planned the crafts a lot earlier but the results were worth it!
I definitely won’t be making gifts this year so instead I have decided to make my own Christmas crackers. Instead of the same old toys and jokes you get every year you can have some fun by hand picking what goes into your crackers. If you have enough time you could even pick out small gifts and give everyone a personalised cracker. I’ve gone for a mixture of toys that I found on Baker Ross (great place for cheap small toys that you can buy in packs of 5 etc).
- Toilet rolls
- Small toys
- A4 paper
- Wrapping paper
- Cracker snaps
- Christmas hats
Pick out the best, most cringe-worthy jokes and simply print them out on A4 paper, cutting them down in strips. I also added some facts & riddles under the jokes. I bought gold and silver hats, along with the cracker snaps, on Ebay. I picked up this colourful polka dot wrapping paper from Matalan. I wanted to go for a modern look rather than traditional Christmas paper. If you cannot find the right paper for you, you could always get creative and customise your own (simply print it out on A4 size paper).
- You are going to need a lot of empty toilet rolls for this! If you have left this craft to last minute you may need to buy them from a craft store. I just asked my family to save them all and it wasn’t long before I had enough!
When you have all the ‘fillers’ for your crackers you can start putting them together. First, cut down your wrapping paper into A4 sized sheets. Grab 3 toilet rolls and place them along the longest edge of the wrapping paper sheet. Pop in a cracker snap in the toilet rolls (I used a small bit of tape to keep the snapper in place first – only tape the middle toilet roll). Tape the edge of the wrapping paper to your toilet roll and begin to roll. Roll until the toilet rolls are completely covered in paper and use another bit of tape on the middle section to secure in place.
Next comes the tricky bit. Slide one of the end rolls out slightly (about an inch). Whilst gripping this roll and the middle roll start to carefully twist them (in opposite directions) and push the end roll back towards the middle roll. This will create the cracker shape. Grab some ribbon/string and tie in place before removing the end roll. Before repeating on the other side remember to pop in all your fillers (hat, joke, toy). I would recommend doing a test run first just to practice the twisting part – it can be a bit fiddly! Once you have got that nailed, pour yourself a tea, put the radio on & get making!
Go the extra mile
- Get creative and print out photographs and illustrations to use as your wrapping paper.
- Add even more to your cracker such as chocolate or mini candy canes.
- Customise your crackers further with mini baubles, bells or name tags.