One of the best parts of Christmas is enjoying a delicious roast dinner, surrounded by loved ones. And what springs to mind when you think of your Christmas roast? A beautifully decorated table, adorned with Christmas crackers for the whole family.
There are the classic kind with paper hats and awful dad jokes that we love to hate, sparkling luxury crackers with gifts that likely cost more than the presents under the tree, and more recently, the sustainable kind.
The world of crackers is a wide one in 2021; you can even find crackers for pets, and if you don’t fancy a plastic puzzle or another pair of nail clippers, you can fill your own with personal gifts – so you can save the games for after your Christmas dinner.
Of course, you want all of your hard work to be appreciated on Christmas Day, and that includes the much-anticipated dinner, where the tabletop decoration is just as important as the turkey.
The best crackers come down to many factors, including design, sustainability, and contents. So, if the wide selection of crackers daunts you, fear not, we’ve checked them out for you and shortlisted the best from the rest.
1. John Lewis Xylophone Musical Christmas Crackers
For music lovers, these crackers are just the ticket for a Christmas sing-song
These adorable, rainbow-coloured crackers are great for families who want something a bit different this year, and enjoy a bit of festive family fun. Each of the eight crackers comes filled with a hat, joke and a xylophone piece that together makes up your band. Children especially will love learning to play several Christmas songs, with sheet music inside for all eight pieces.
There aren’t many ways to keep children entertained at dinner tables besides an iPad or with a pack of crayons, but this festive musical set is a wonderfully unique option to get the whole family involved in between courses.
2. Lakeland Nutcracker Christmas Crackers
Guests will leave the table with a souvenir reminiscent of the Nutcracker ballet
Many families love to go to the ballet at Christmas and so the Nutcracker has become known for bringing festive magic into homes. Bring that magic to your Christmas table with six handmade crackers that contain hand-painted Nutcracker soldiers with a hanging loop that can then be placed on your tree.
For those living in the same household, you’ll have a full set as each Nutcracker is different. And, each cracker is made from glitter-free, foil-free fully recyclable card, so you can pop the waste straight into the recycling when dinner is over.
3. Hotel Chocolat Mini Chocolate Christmas Crackers
Have dessert for starters with these deliciously indulgent Christmas crackers
If your guests prefer to have a dinner table full of things they can eat, including the crackers, then consider this set of ten from Hotel Chocolat.
Each cracker has a little spot to write guests’ names on, which will add a lovely touch. Some of the brand’s most popular chocolates are inside the crackers, including the Pecan Praline and Salted Caramel Cream – and it’s a lucky dip with who gets what! In the lead up to Christmas, the crackers will sit perfectly on your tree branches as they are mini in size. Just keep an eye out for chocolate thieves.
Buyers loved these crackers last year, with some describing the special memories they made with their grandchildren picking them off the tree after school. Others loved ‘not knowing which chocolate was in each cracker’.
4. Marks & Spencer Fill Your Own Recyclable Christmas Crackers
Just the right buy for a family who likes to do things their way
It’s nice to be able to add a personal touch to proceedings during the most wonderful time of the year, and many people love to fill their own crackers.
These crackers come with a hat, joke and name tag – so you can focus on the fun stuff. Each cracker is 100% plastic-free and is just waiting for something special to be placed inside. Children will love to fill these up ready for Christmas Day, and the best part is, you can choose individual gifts that you know each recipient will appreciate.
Buyers rate these crackers as being great value, and find it’s ‘much better to put your own gifts in.’
5. Whitley Neill Gin Crackers
There’s something for everyone (over 18!) in these gin filled crackers
While Buck’s Fizz is the classic Christmas table tipple, flavoured gins have seen a surge in popularity over the last few years and will be seen on many Christmas tables this year. Whitley Neill have pulled together several of their favourite flavours, including Rhubarb & Ginger and Parma Violet, to create a pretty selection of single portion gin crackers.
If your party is strictly over 18s, then these are certainly the best Christmas crackers for your table.
Coming in with five stars, these crackers get top reviews from customers, including those who want something a little more fun than the regular cracker. One buyer describes how she enjoyed ‘upholding the table tradition’ in a much more modern and eco-friendly way.
6. Marks & Spencer Percy Pig™ Recyclable Christmas Crackers
Enjoy Christmas with the M&S celebrity by your side
Percy Pig is practically a celebrity now, and both adults and children alike love him for his cute wiggly tail and endless product options at M&S. This set of crackers is very affordable, and each of the six crackers comes with the classic hat and joke, with an added Percy Pig puzzle and charade to be performed.
If you’re looking for something that is simple, fun and that the whole family will love, say hello to Percy.
7. Keep This Cracker Reusable Kraft Crackers
For the sustainable shopper, these crackers can be used time and time again
Start your New Year’s resolution early and make your Christmas dinner more eco-friendly. These crackers are designed to be filled with your own choice of gift, and can be reused for years to come by simply re-purchasing the snaps. So, they’re not just eco-friendly, but purse-friendly too.
If you’ve got pets in the house, you’ll be pleased to know that each cracker comes with a pet-friendly ecosnap®, so that the bang isn’t quite so loud and your furry friend can take their Christmas nap in peace.
8. Rainbow Bowling Christmas Crackers
This set of six crackers will definitely be a talking point around your Christmas lunch table. You get six bowling pins, a bowling alley and a rubber bowling ball included, and the crackers contain a hat and a joke, as well as a bowling pin.
Possibly one to avoid if your family are the competitive type, however.
Note, these are not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts.
9. Snow Globe Gin Christmas Crackers
Everyone’s been talking about the Snow Globe gin from Marks and Spencer this year. And if you’ve struggled to get your hands on a bottle, why not treat your Christmas Day guests to these must-have grown-up Christmas crackers? You get two Clementine Snow Globe Gin Liqueur crackers with a Clementine Snow Globe Gin Liqueur Bauble (5cl), a Light Clementine Tonic (150ml) and two Spiced Sugar Plum Snow Globe Gin Liqueur crackers with Spiced Sugar Plum Snow Globe Gin Liqueur Bauble (5cl), Light Indian Tonic Water (150ml), plus a paper hat, joke and paper confetti.
10. Claridges Christmas Crackers
If you’re looking for the best Christmas crackers to add a little something extra special to your Christmas table, look no further. A set of six exclusive Claridge’s Christmas crackers will definitely do the trick. Beautifully Art Deco in design, these premium Christmas crackers contain a shimmering gold or silver crown plus a keepsake item inspired by the famous hotel’s heritage. And as for jokes, these classy crackers go one better. Inside you’ll find ‘a charming anecdote’ from the Claridge’s archives. Just the thing to share with your guests over your appetizers.
11. Acrobatic Spinning Bug Crackers
Each of these six colourful crackers contains an Acrobatic Spinning Bug on wheels. You also get instructions for play, a tissue paper crown and a joke. The bugs can race, spin, be stacked or battle each other.
Judging by the reviews, these are pretty much the best Christmas crackers you can buy this year.
‘Excellent quality and much more fun than the usual stupid random stuff in crackers,’ wrote one happy customer. ‘The company sells so many variations I had difficulty choosing which to get but I will definitely be coming back for another look next year.’