Who invented the Christmas cracker?

3 mins read


CRACKERS have become a synonymous part of our festive traditions, often enjoyed around the dinner table while Christmas lunch is served.

But who came up with the idea and where can the history of the Christmas cracker be traced back to?

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It’s a cracker – but where did the Christmas favourite come from?[/caption]

Who invented the Christmas cracker?

Tom Smith of London invented the first version of the Christmas cracker in 1847.

The British baker and confectioner was known for introducing Britain to the bonbon sweet which he discovered in France.

But Smith came up with the idea of a cracker to help sell his product when sales began to decline.

The cracker was first designed to emulate the twist of paper that bon bons were first sold in.

Smith added the “crackle” element when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on a fire.

The range was originally called Bangs of Expectation.

Getty – Contributor

The first Christmas cracker was produced in London in 1847 by Tom Smith[/caption]

What did Tom Smith put in the Christmas crackers?

Tom Smith would but his popular bon bon sweets inside the early versions of the cracker

As a further idea, Tom Smith would put love messages on the inside of the wrappers.

The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism – which led to the sweet itself being dropped.

It was instead replaced by a trinket.


When were jokes added to Christmas crackers?

Smith had three sons – Tom, Walter and Henry – and after his death they carried on the business.

The other elements of the modern cracker – the gifts, paper hats and jokes -were all introduced by Tom Smith’s son, Walter Smith in the 1900s.

They were included to help tell the difference between Smith’s crackers and other rival cracker manufacturers that had begun to appear due to rising popularity of the item.

In the 1930s, the love poems and mottos used by Tom were replaced by jokes.

In 2020 a whole new range of cracker jokes based around the coronavirus pandemic have had Brits groaning around the country.



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