Watch Jodies cracking demos on Create and Craft today, 21st June at 7pm and 9pm.
I thought you might enjoy learning about the origins of the Christmas Cracker....
Crackers were invented by a London confectioner by the name of Tom Smith.
In 1840 whilst holidaying in France,Tom was impressed by the French bon-bon. At this time in England sweets were sold loose from the trays they were made in, but this French Bon Bon was wrapped in a twist of waxed paper. This was much more hygienic, and quite a novelty so Tom brought the idea back with him to England. He marketed his bon-bons just in time for Christmas, and they were an instant success. However, after Christmas Tom needed to make something more novel to boost wavering sales
Tom had heard about the Chinese Fortune Crackers which contained a message on a piece of paper, and he had the simple idea of double wrapping his sweets; first with waxed paper, then placing inside a motto and wrapping the lot with a plain outer wrapper. The mottos he used were love verses and sayings, and his sweets were a great favourite with the ladies of the day.
Soon his competitors cottoned on to his idea and he needed to find another novelty to bring in the sales.
Tom had the notion to include a small charm or trinket and he put this with the wrapped sweet and the motto inside a small tube and then wrapped the whole thing in the outer wrapper. It was a great success and the “Christmas Bonbonne ~complete with surprise” -was born!
Tom wasn't content to leave it at that, he wanted to make his bonbons even more special. Legend has it that he hit on his next idea from hearing a crackling log fire. It took a couple of years, but Tom finally perfected a safe means of making this crack by using saltpetre pasted between two thin strips of card
In 1860 Tom Smith’s “Bangs of Expectation” were created; the forerunner of our modern cracker. Originally they were named “Cosaques” after the cracking of the whips of the Cossack horsemen as they rode through Paris during the Franco-Prussian Wars. Later, paper hats were added as a part of the fancy dress popular at Twelfth Night parties. Eventually, the name was changed to become the crackers we know today.
But don't be thinking that Crackers are just for Christmas. Nowadays they can be used for celebrating any event you like. With the ability to make your own custom crackers, you can decorate them for birthdays, weddings, baby showers, valentines, and any other event you can think of.
Fill your crackers with personal gifts, sweets, or even little love mottos ;-)
Cracker snaps (the paper bit that makes the sound) can easily be bought on Ebay to add that Bang to your cracker. (Because the cracker pads are made from excellent cardstock, you might want to use Tonic Studio's perforating tool along one side of your cracker to make it pop a little easier)
I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the humble cracker.
But don't delay, order yours today before they sell out!!
(Mmmm, I fancy a French bonbon now!)