A very British tradition, crackers are festive table decorations used at Christmas. Often crafted from paper and cardboard, crackers are designed to be pulled open, making a snapping sound, to then reveal a small gift, a piece of paper containing a joke or fun fact, and a colorful paper hat to be worn whilst you tuck into your Christmas dinner. Even though many crackers are crafted from recyclable materials, a huge amount of plastic waste is still caused by Christmas crackers each year, leading to many of us to look into alternative and more eco-friendly options for this Christmas tradition. Reusable crackers are not only better for the environment, but they also offer a chance to spend time creating and crafting in the lead-up to Christmas and can make your Christmas table decor ideas really stand out from the crowd with a more unique, personal touch. Below, Angela Maynard, author of The Art of Gifting Naturally (opens in new tab), shares her step by steps for learning how to make reusable crackers.

You will need

For 8 crackers:

How to make

Step 1. 

Cut one of the toilet roll tubes lengthways and overlap one edge on top of the other, securing with brown tape.

Step 2. 

Roll the modified and intact toilet roll tube into your chosen paper or fabric. You should have approximately 1-1.5 cm overlap at one end to fold into the toilet roll tube. If you’re using fabric you will need to glue the fabric in place.

Step 3. 

Bunch the paper together at the other end of the toilet roll tube. If you’re using fabric or a less rigid paper, you will need to secure the gathered end with a string or ribbon.

Step 4. 

Wrap a treat in recycled paper or put it in a handmade pouch. Then place it inside the modified toilet roll tube, along with a handwritten joke, if you wish to include one. Then slide the toilet roll tube inside the intact one. 

Step 5. 

Tie a ribbon or some brown string at the center of the cracker and add a sprig of festive foliage or a dried flower. And there you have it, a beautiful, totally unique Christmas cracker that can be used and enjoyed for many Christmases to come.

What can you put in reusable crackers?

Traditionally, crackers contain a paper hat, a small piece of paper containing a joke or fun fact, and a small toy. ‘I’d always loved making gifts as a child and always paid particular attention to wrapping them beautifully, even having wrapping competitions with my sister at Xmas! With my childhood self in mind, I decided to spend some time playing with natural, recycled, and sustainable materials, devising a collection of practical projects that would be easy to make at home. My book ‘ The Art of Gifting Naturally’ is the result of these ideas and experimentations.’ The beauty of homemade, reusable crackers is that you can fill them with whatever you want! From sweet treats to stationary to joke gifts, it is a chance to create a fun memory and gift a small token, just like Christmas table gift ideas, to your friends and family. Some things to put in a reusable cracker include:

Chocolates CandyHomemade craftsSmall decorative ornamentsJewelryBeauty productsVouchersStationary  How to make reusable crackers  for a special and sustainable decoration    - 59