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Christmas Crackers

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This week I’m making Christmas crackers! My friend Raeanne is having a cracker making party at her house on Sunday and I’m pretty excited to attend. I love the idea of giving fun, little gifts; especially ones that come with a bang!

I go online to check out a cracker making instructional video and am surprised by how simple it actually is. It seems I’ll need: toilet paper rolls, scissors, tape, wrapping paper, ribbon, cracker snaps, and cracker contents (toys, candies, crowns and jokes on little pieces of paper). I have most of the materials around my house and a visit to MichaelsSalmagundi West and Shoppers gets me the cracker snaps, toys and candies I require – and quite possibly a few more than I actually needed. Emrys goes online and finds some jokes to print. Last but not least, he cuts out the ever important (and personally much dreaded) crowns, which supposedly date back to saturnalia celebrations.

_EPH9578As I’m planning my crackers and how many I need to make, I realize that Emrys and I have very different ideas of how Christmas crackers actually work. I’ve always understood it to be a competition, where two people pull opposite ends and the person with the longer piece wins the cracker contents. Emrys on the other hand thinks that each person should have their own cracker. As it turns out we are both right; both are common ways to play. I decide that since I get to customize the contents it’ll be fun for each person to have their own crackers; although maybe we can find an interactive way to open them, like crossed arms in a circle.

I head over to Raeanne’s place on Sunday afternoon where I meet up with some friends. When I arrive the Christmas music is playing and two cracker making stations are set up and ready to go. But before we start crafting, it’s time to build a custom sandwich from the sandwich bar Raeanne has set up, tuck into some cookies and other treats and enjoy a rum and eggnog. Damn, this girl knows how to host!

Lunch finished we start the cracker making, which is even easier than I’d imagined. You really just shove the contents into a empty toilet paper roll, tape a snap to the roll, roll it up in paper, tie ribbons on the two ends and call it a cracker! It’s fun to see the little treats and toys everyone has picked out; these ladies have picked up some really cool stuff. Besides the crackers that we’re making for family and friends, we’ve each been assigned to do a cracker for one other person at today’s party, which adds a neat element. I’ll be making a cracker for the hostess, Raeanne. I’d like to tell you what I put in it but you never know, she might just read this!

The next hour or two goes by quickly as I sip at my candy cane tea, enjoy the Christmas music, chat with the girls and assemble my crackers. At the end of it all, we place our crackers together under the tree and have an impressive little pile of treasure. All in all, it was a great day and I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year.

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