By Kirsti Scott
Though party crackers might not be part of your holiday traditions, they’re a fun addition to your table any time of year. Upcycle your wrapping paper scraps, save leftover cardboard tubes, and add in some beach finds for a new coastal party tradition.
Learn more about the tradition of Christmas Crackers ›
- 3 cardboard tubes. You can use empty toilet paper tubes, or if you want sturdier tubes, buy 1.5x4-inch round cardboard craft tubes.
- Cracker Snaps
- Wrapping paper. Select paper that is not so thick that it is hard to pull apart or twist.
- Gift wrapping ribbon
- Clear tape
- Silly jokes. You can download printable jokes (PDF) and then print and cut them into individual slips. Or, cut some little slips of paper and write your own.
- Paper crowns
- Shells, sea glass, beach rocks, fossils, etc.
- Candy, trinkets, toys, or other tiny gifts
- Czech glass charms ;-)
Cut wrapping paper
- Lay out three cardboard tubes end to end and measure the width. Add 2 inches for good measure. You can always trim the ends later.
- Measure the circumference of your tubes by rolling them along the paper. Add an inch or so for overlap.
- Cut pieces of wrapping paper using the measurements you’ve made.
Attach the cracker inside tube
- Center a cracker strip inside one tube and use a small piece of tape at both ends of the tube to secure it inside.
- Slide the other two tubes on either end of this middle tube, keeping the cracker strip ends inside the end tubes.
Cover the tube with paper
- Center the tubes along the edge of the wrapping paper and tape the center edge to the middle tube only. (The outside tubes are used only to help keep the paper’s shape at the ends.)
- Roll the tubes along the paper and tape the edge of the wrapping paper to the middle tube only.
Tie one end of the cracker
- Slide out one of the end tubes about one inch and then twist the paper in the gap between the two tubes. Keep the end tube inside the paper while you’re twisting so the paper doesn’t get crushed.
- Tie a ribbon in the gap to hold it closed. Don’t make it super tight, but with a small enough hole that your cracker fillings don’t fall out.
Fill It up
- Fill the cracker through the opening at the other end, adding a crown, a joke, candy, and tiny gifts.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 to tie the second end of the cracker. Remove the end tubes.
To open the crackers, two people grab the ends tightly and pull on opposite ends of the cracker until it snaps. With a group, you can get in a circle and have everyone put their cracker in their left hand and cross it over their right hand. Each person grabs the end of the cracker belonging to the person on their left with their right hand, and lets the person on their right grab the other end of their cracker with their right hand. Simultaneously pull your crackers apart, put on your crowns, and share your bad jokes with the group.
Have fun ideas for other items to include in party crackers?
Share your favorites in the comments below!
Enjoy your daily dose of vitamin sea!
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine November/December 2022 issue.
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