Statement Dining | December 12, 2016 | Home
A Christmas twist:
Exquisite crackers to delight your family
Crackers are a peculiarly British Christmas tradition – and we hold them close to our hearts, daft hats, silly jokes and all.
As you gather the family around the dining table for the festive feast, it seems perfectly appropriate to set off the meal with a tussle and a small explosion.
Entrepreneurial Londoner Tom Smith invented the cracker in 1847, seeking a way to increase demand for his bon-bon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper.
Little ‘love messages’ slipped into the wrapper came first but the concept took off when Tom dreamed up the ‘crack’ after throwing another log on his fire and becoming fascinated by the sound.
Today’s crackers offer many varieties on the theme and the best genuinely enhance the Christmas table. We’ve selected our five favourites for 2016 – including a fresh take on the place-setting gift idea – as well as tableware inspiration for the most joyful family feast of the year.
Hand-made in England and sporting a plush velvet bow, Harrods’ luxury Christmas crackers (£99.95 for six) contain genuinely covetable gifts, including a lipstick holder and wine bottle stopper.
These stylish crackers are the perfect foil for the charcoal and gold graphics of Wedgwood’s Arris collection. Grown up chic for an elegant Christmas.
Selfridges also offers a range of crackers hand-made in England – will you get the clothing brush, the handbag mirror or the metal yo-yo, along with the inevitable paper hat, of course? (£62 for six)
Finished in a sophisticated lustre, rather than glitter, Selfridges’ crackers complement the updated classic motifs of the Gilded Muse collection. The range features images taken from Josiah Wedgwood’s take on the neo-classicist art movement – and it’s a wonderfully warm addition to the Christmas table.
3. Fortnum & Mason
Image: Fortnum & Mason
A radically different direction for Fortnums’ headline cracker offering for 2016. The Sensational Six Person Super Cracker (£65) contains jokes written by Stephen Fry, as well as eight musical whistles and simple-to-follow sheet music. A festive table orchestra to pipe the goose to the table?
The pretty colour and gold highlights of this centrepiece cracker add a touch of elegance to the Vera Wang Lace collection in gold.
The contents are broadly similar to the Harrods and Selfridges versions but the opulent purple and gold, together with iridescent peacock feathers, lend that typical Liberty touch of glamour to your dinner table (£39.95 for six).
Feeling bold and boho? Pile on the colour with Wedgwood’s Vibrance collection. The deep rich pink adds another tonal dimension, or mix and match the peacock blue to build up the punch of style. Whichever colours you choose, the range’s gold accents and overblown floral motifs are a festive addition.
5. Fill your own – or try table favours
House of Crackers’ empty crackers come with hat and motto but leave you free to fill with a trinket of your own choice – and they’re available in every shade imaginable, to suit your table. Alternatively, replace the gift with a table favour – light a Vera Wang candle at every place. Label with a flourish and it can double as a name place card for your guests too.
Build on the elegant silver and white theme with Jasper Conran’s Platinum collection. Bold metallics reflect the light for a sparkling Christmas table to remember.