Whisper it quietly, but there’s a secret method on how to pull a Christmas cracker and win – EVERY TIME!
This secret trick will ensure that you win every single time whenever someone hands one end of a cracker in your direction at the festive dinner table.
For many households, Christmas crackers are a festive tradition along with mince pies, roast potatoes and lots of booze.
But there’s also the popular pastime of pulling a Christmas cracker when you sit at the Christmas table.
But if you’re always the one that is always left with a limp piece of paper and cardboard and no hat or novelty gift, then you may have been pulling your cracker wrong for years.
What is a Christmas cracker?
If you’ve never come across Christmas crackers before, then you need to know that these are a popular festive table decoration and will adorn most Christmas dinner tables in the UK.
The cracker will make a snapping sound when the two participants pull it apart and it usually contains a small gift, a paper hat for wearing, and a joke – often a terrible ‘dad joke’.
Along with the UK, they are also popular in other Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The cracker itself contains a cardboard tube that holds the contents, and this is wrapped in brightly decorated paper.
The cracker is opened when two people hold each end and after the snapping sound, the cracker will split unevenly leaving one person to hold the cardboard tube and its prized contents.
Technique to winning a Christmas cracker prize
Now defence technology experts at QinetiQ say there is a perfect technique to winning a Christmas cracker prize.
It’s not just down to luck, but the way in which you hold the cracker.
According to the experts, the simple steps will turn you into a cracker master for the festivities this year and win every time – if you follow these steps:
- Grip your Christmas cracker: The first piece of advice is to ensure that your end of the cracker is being held lower than the other end being pulled whoever is holding it
- Your end of the cracker will then be pointing downwards towards you
- Use a two-handed grip that is firm to prevent the cracker from tearing
- When you begin pulling, don’t just give it a hard yank – you need a steady, slow pulling technique instead
- Not yanking your cracker means it will not be compromised.
Also, do not twist the cracker because this will add stress and don’t twist your arm either.
Follow these expert tips, and you’ll be a Christmas cracker winner every time!
YouTube: What are Christmas crackers?
If you don’t know what Christmas crackers are, this short video from BBC Learning English explains everything you need to know.
Where do Christmas crackers come from?
Legend has it that Christmas crackers were invented by Tom Smith in 1847.
Historians say they were created to help sell his bon-bon sweets which he was selling in a twist of paper – which is also the origin for traditional sweet wrappers – and Mr Smith wanted to promote his products after there was a slump in the sale of bon-bons.
Firstly, he tried inserting love messages into the sweet wrappers and then added the cracking element after he heard a log cracking on a fire.
Even making the wrapping larger and incorporating a snapping mechanism, he eventually dropped the sweets and switched to using trinkets including jewellery, fans and other substantial items.
Soon after launching, rival varieties entered the market, and everyone knew them as crackers.
The modern cracker has a range of designs but still include gifts and paper hats.
Christmas cracker etiquette
Along with knowing how to win at pulling Christmas crackers, you need to know when to open your cracker.
According to etiquette expert Liz Brewer, you shouldn’t pull your cracker when you sit down at the Christmas dinner table.
Instead, the cracker should be opened when the main course has finished but before Christmas pudding has been delivered.
Alternatively, you should open your crackers when the meal ends.
Also, Liz says that it’s a ‘no-no’ to lean over other guests who are pulling a cracker, and you need to ensure that the cracker’s contents do not fall into any food.
She also insists that you should not be sad if you don’t win the cracker prize.
Liz even goes as far as saying that you should congratulate the victor and must never ask to keep their toy – particularly if it’s a child who has won the Christmas cracker pulling contest.
Other tips include not wearing the paper crown that comes in the cracker away from the table, and don’t pull the Christmas cracker too hard as this could endanger other guests, particularly older family members.
YouTube: How to Make Christmas Crackers
Having discussed how to win when pulling a cracker, this YouTube video by Lizzie B explains how to make Christmas crackers.
They are easier to make than most people realise, and you can use any Christmas wrapping paper that is lying around.
You will need some small gifts but there are lots of shops selling these small trinkets – and you can buy Christmas cracker making kits from various outlets that include everything you need.