12 February

Cracking up

Christmas crackers:

  • are fun
  • can be a colourful or classy or quirky part of your table decoration[1]
  • make the Christmas feast stand out from the other feast days in the year[2]
  • are entirely devoid of religion so they can be used by all feasters at Christmas time


  • they’re either expensive or tacky[3]
  • the jokes are awful
  • practically no-one will wear the stupid hats, and they seldom fit those who will
  • the trinkets are usually odd things you don’t want

The solution: make your own to improve:

  • The quality of the trinkets
  • The freshness of the jokes[4]
  • The stylishness of the hats
  • The appearance of the crackers and how well they match your table decor

You can keep the costs low (both economically and environmentally) but you can’t get them down to zero so, if your budget is very, very tight, give crackers a miss[5] but, if you can spare a little money, you can produce excellent crackers.

So here are today’s tasks:

  • Work out how many crackers you’ll need
  • Decide what you’re willing to spend on them
  • Decide whether you’ll make or buy
12 feb 2016.jpg
This is a small, rubbery crab that I got in a Christmas cracker. Only someone under three could possibly find it appealing – and for them it would be a choking hazard,

And I have an extra task myself today: the electrician came this morning and installed my new dining room light but he managed to knock a hole in the ceiling so he’s sending a plasterer mate around and I need to arrange a convenient time. (I am irrationally annoyed that the electrician didn’t bring the plasterer when he came himself which would have saved us all some effort, but I guess it would actually have been worse if the electrician had predicted he’d damage the ceiling but hadn’t been bothered to prevent it.)

[1] Choose the option you like best.

[2] So do truly heroic quantities of food.

[3] And far too often both.

[4] It’s difficult to guarantee the hilarity of the jokes since senses of humour vary so widely. (My Uncle Bill, for example, still thinks it’s funny to pull a little girl’s pigtail and ask “How’s your boyfriend?” This used to disconcert my sister Wendy but I’d just say “Which one?” and that shut him up.)

[5] Or ask someone else to provide them.

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