We’ve all heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, and most of us know the first couple of lines of the song – but what exactly are the 12 days of Christmas?
The Twelve Days of Christmas is the period commemorating the birth of Christ, starting on December 25. There is some confusion about the end date, with some people choosing the fifth of January and others the sixth of January. Epiphany – the day the wise men (or magi) visited the baby Jesus is the sixth of January.
When it comes to Christmas we owe a lot to the Victorians. Until then Christmas wasn’t even a holiday for a lot of businesses. Victoria and Albert introduced things like Christmas trees and Christmas cards, and with a bit of help from Charles Dickens turkey became the centre piece of the Christmas table.
For each cracker you will need:
- Cardboard tube (loo roll tube is perfect!)
- Sheet of A4 paper
- Glue and sellotape
- String or ribbon
- A cracker snap (see here)
- Gift or toy
How to Make Your Cracker
1. Decorate your paper with drawings, glitter etc., or use wrapping paper cut to A4 size. Make sure you don’t get the paper too stiff, or use paper that is too flimsy as it has to roll around the tube.
This year is the centenary of WWI, and while all the commemorations have been going on we wondered what Christmas was like during both wars – for those in the trenches and their families at home.
Chrismas has become a universal celebration and even some countries that are largely non-Christian will have some sort of festivities.
A lot of Christmas traditions have become universally adopted without us knowing where they came from. Most countries that celebrate Christmas will include things like:
|We’ve come to expect our Christmas Cracker jokes to be particularly cheesy, and I think we’d all be a little disappointed if they didn’t make us groan a little.
Here a selection of some that have appeared in our Christmas crackers over the years:
Who delivers presents to cats?
What do you call Father Christmas in the beach?
What did the sea Say to Santa?
Nothing! It just waved!
What does Santa do with fat elves?
He sends them to an Elf Farm!
Christmas Crackers are a very English tradition, although they have now become a part of Christmases around the world.
Christmas Crackers were invented by Thomas Smith in 1847.
Mr Smith owned a shop in Clerkenwell, London which made wedding cake ornaments and decorations, and Tom was always on the lookout for new and more sophisticated designs for his business. He regularly travelled abroad in search of new ideas, and during a trip to Paris in 1846 he came across ‘bonbons’ – sugar almonds wrapped in a twist of tissue paper – and decided to sell them in his shop. Sales were encouraging and over the next few years Tom Smith improved on his designs. Bonbon sales seemed to be highest at Christmas, and Tom decided to develop the bonbons especially for Christmas, and started by including a small love motto in the tissue paper.