IT wouldn’t be Christmas without a flimsy paper hat, a punny joke and plastic toy.
But these days some crackers can be, well, cracking, with goodies from chocolates to gin and even sex toys dropping out. But how do you choose the best for you?
The Sun’s Lynsey Hope provides her guide to the best ones around.
BEST FOR A FANCY DO
M&S unique Christmas star crackers – £20 for six at marksandspencer.com
This innovative, star-shaped version is a real showstopper.
Each comes with a hat, joke, game task and gift – and gave the perfect little bang when pulled. Pricey, but lovely if you’re after a fancy table display.
BEST FOR CHIDREN
Wilko Christmas kids crackers – £3 for six at wilko.com
Lovely, colourful crackers with Santa, winter dog and Christmas tree designs are perfect for over-excited kids.
Each comes with a plastic gift and the must-have party hat, at a really cracking price from Wilko’s.
BEST FOR TRADITION
Tesco luxury silver crackers – £10 for six at tesco.com
These are super traditional and my mum would buy them. But while the gifts inside are “plastic free” there wasn’t anything very original inside – just the usual keyrings and bottle openers.
But they’re a perfect size, looked pretty and gave a good pop.
BEST FOR FESTIVE FUN
M&S world’s funniest crackers – £15 for 12 at marksandspencer.com
The jokes, written by top comics including Dawn French, lived up to their billing, plus there are photo props for some selfie fun.
Pricey, but you can eat your dinner satisfied you’ve donated to a great cause – the Together for Short Lives charity.
BEST FOR VALUE
Asda George Home premium crackers – £5 for eight at asda.com
Gifts include a bag of four marbles, pencils, a cookie cutter and a bottle opener.
These may be your run-of-the-mill festive cracker, but they look really pretty on the Christmas dinner table and at just a fiver are incredibly good value.
BEST FOR BUDDING ARTISTS
Sainsbury’s Dear Santa character game crackers – Was £7, now £5.25 for six at sainsburys.co.uk
Lovely designs of Father Christmas or reindeer characters, and you can make a game out of them too.
But it was a right faff cutting out the pieces, which most parents could maybe do without on December 25.
BEST FOR SWEET LOVERS
Hotel Chocolat Mini Chocolate Christmas Crackers – £17 for ten at hotelchocolat.com
Choccy lovers will go absolutely crackers over these. They don’t “pop” but each unwraps to reveal a single gourmet chocolate.
They may be small (and a little pricey) but we loved them.
BEST FOR GIN CONNOISSEURS
Sipsmith gin crackers – £15 for four at Tesco
I loved these and the different flavours were a real talking point. The crackers included little bottles of lemon drizzle, zesty orange gin and my favourite, sloe gin.
Just perfect for Christmas Day – if you like mother’s ruin that is.
BEST FOR ORIGINALITY
Heinz Tomato Ketchup Christmas crackers – £19 for six at heinztohome.co.uk
One in ten of us apparently have ketchup with our turkey dinner. If you’re one of them, these are definitely for you.
The crackers come with a hat, a sauce-based joke and a mini jar of tomato sauce.
BEST FOR X-RATED SURPRISE
Ricky’s Christmas Cracker Surprise – £36 at ricky.com
Pulling a Christmas cracker just got sexy – with the first to contain a sex toy.
Gifts include a luxury vibrator and a Luv Egg – and there are five to collect.
Just don’t get them mixed up on the table . . . or granny could be in for an unexpected surprise!
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