Monday, November 19, 2012


Christmas poppers originated in England in the mid 1800's and is still an integral part of the Christmas celebration there today.  Although it is not as popular a tradition in the U.S., it surely is in my sister's home.  For them,  Christmas dinner starts off with a bang (literally!) as these fun little creations often have snap crackers in them to create a pop gun type noise.

Traditionally each person at the table crosses their arms and instead of holding hands with the person on either side of them, they each hold one end of the popper.  On the count of three everyone pulls the cracker toward themselves, similarly to pulling a wishbone, ripping them open. Candy, trinkets, jokes and a crown fit for a king comes spilling out. 

Being that I love a good DIY project, I decided to make these this year for my own Christmas dinner, personalizing them for each member of my family.  It's fun activities like this that create memories and traditions for generations to come.  Hope you enjoy!!


                                                      *Wrapping/Tissue Paper
                                                            Cardboard Tube
                                                         Tape (Double sided)
                                                        Ruler/Measuring Tape
                                               **Candy (Individually wrapped)
                                    **Toys/Trinkets (Miniature in size to fit in tube)
                                         **Computer Paper (1) (For riddles/jokes)

*Tissue or wrapping paper can be used to make the crown that is inserted inside the cracker.  Wrapping paper is for wrapping the outside of the popper.  I used two different wrapping papers to make my cracker - one for the crown, the other for wrapping the popper.

**These items are what traditionally fill the inside of the tube.  But, since you are making them, you can decide what you would like to include so please consider these items optional suggestions.


STEP 1:  Cut cardboard tube into 3 pieces (1 piece- 4 1/2" long, 2 pieces - 2 1/2" long).
I used a cardboard tube from wrapping paper because it was sturdier than a paper towel cardboard tube.  

I could not find a popper/snapper locally so have not included a how-to photo for it.  It isn't necessary to include a popper/snapper since it is for noise value only (pop gun sound) and may actually not be an asset in a household with a sleeping baby or pet with hearing sensitivity.  But, if you do decide to include it, this would be the step where you would attach it to the inside of the 4 1/2 inch tube with tape.  I've included a link so you can see a picture of a popper.  I have never purchased anything from this company so I have no firsthand experience with them as a customer.  But, they are one of the few places you can buy poppers in America.  Please click below if you would like to read more about poppers...

Popper for Christmas Cracker 

Cracker Snaps
                                    Popper - Courtesy of

To include a popper in your Christmas popper you would insert it into the 4 1/2" tube.  Both ends of the popper/snapper should extend equally beyond both ends of the  4 1/2" tube.  Once it is extending out of the tube equally, secure the popper on the inside of the tube with tape.  Place the 2 1/2" tubes on either end of the 4 1/2" tube (inserting the popper/snapper in each 2 1/2" tube but not attaching the popper/snapper to the tubes). The 2 1/2" tubes are used to keep the Christmas popper formed correctly.  Once the popper is completed the 2 1/2" tubes are removed and the extended portion of the popper will be hidden by pretty wrapping paper.

STEP 2:  To wrap tube cut a piece of wrapping paper 8"x13".  Place the tubes on the underneath  side of the wrapping paper leaving a slight separation between each tube.  Roll wrapping paper around tubes.

STEP 3:  Secure wrapping paper on the underneath side of the wrapping paper with double sided tape so that tape is not showing on the outside of the wrapping paper.

STEP 4:  Gently pull one of the 2 1/2" tubes to the edge of the wrapping paper.

STEP 5:  After you have moved the one 2 1/2" tube to the edge, scrunch the wrapping paper as closely as possible to the 4 1/2" tube.

STEP 6:  Tie the scrunched paper with ribbon.  Completely remove the 2 1/2" cardboard tube as it is no longer needed.  It can be reused so save it if you are making more.

You are now ready to fill the tube with whatever fun things your family and friends enjoy!
They are traditionally filled with candy, toys/trinkets, riddles/jokes, a gold crown and a popper/snapper (makes a loud noise).   But, you pick and choose. 


                                                         Individually wrapped


                        Being homemade (vs. store bought) you can customize treats.


       Print or write jokes/riddles. I found these on the internet - google Christmas Jokes.  

 Cut a strip of wrapping or tissue paper 4"x24".  Cut V-shaped notches the length of one side of the paper. Fold until it is small enough to fit into tube.
STEP 7:  Fill the open end of the tube with your choice of goodies.

STEP 8:  Repeat Steps 4-6 for other side of cracker, gently pulling out 2 1/2" tube to edge of wrapping paper, scrunching wrapping paper closely to 4 1/2" tube, securing with ribbon and then removing 2 1/2" tube.

                                                              ~ Debbie ~

Want more festive ideas?  Please click below...
Pineapples & Palm Trees

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