Make Christmas Crackers Sweeter With A Trip To The Dollar Store

Christmas crackers are a British holiday tradition dating back to the Victorian era that's been embraced worldwide. During a holiday dinner, cardboard cylinders are gift-wrapped and left at each place setting to give a small present to each guest and create a fun dinner atmosphere.

Typically, crackers contain little gag gifts, like nail clippers, a pack of cards, tweezers, puzzles, and so much more — as well as a tissue paper crown and a joke or saying that bursts apart when each end is pulled open. Generic Christmas crackers can be found online and in discount stores for under $2 each, and with a little effort, they can be made into something sweeter. 

To add a more personalized touch, take a trip to a Dollar Store for candies and trinkets that can make your Christmas crackers more memorable and delicious. Purchase bags of small chocolates like Hershey's Kisses or foiled-wrapped hard candies for guests to enjoy after their meal. For adult versions, add mini ornaments, sparklers, or a handwritten question like "What's your favorite childhood memory from Christmas?" or "What's your favorite Christmas cookie?" to spark conversation at the dinner table. 

For the kids' table, add plastic toys to the crackers to give them something to play with before gifts are opened. Explore the party favor aisle where you'll often find small containers of crafts, plastic jewelry, or tiny tubs of PlayDoh, which can be added if the cracker is large enough.

How to make Christmas crackers

Depending on how crafty you are, you can purchase Christmas crackers to fill yourself or make them at home using empty cardboard tubes. Paper towel holders are great for large crackers that accommodate more oversized items like pencils for kids, old-fashioned stick candy, or traditional candy canes. Smaller Christmas crackers can be made using toilet paper holders or cutting a paper towel holder in half. Travel-size toiletries, nail polish bottles, and mini jam jars will fit comfortably in there, along with a tissue paper crown, an essential.

Bakers and candy confectioners can add homemade buttered salted caramels, marshmallows, or Christmas pecan Linzer cookies to the tubes; just individually wrap food items in case they fall on the floor when opened. Cracker snaps are available online from retailers like Etsy to give DIY Christmas crackers the same "POP."

Use leftover pieces of wrapping paper, wallpaper, or scrapbook paper to decorate them around your tablescape theme. Or make them eco-friendly and reusable the following year by wrapping them in fabric remnants. Christmas crackers can double as place cards by wrapping them in brown kraft paper and adding each guest's name. Secure the ends with scraps of ribbon or twine, and enjoy watching your guests open your sweet treats.