According to WHY CHRISTMAS Christmas crackers are a traditional Christmas favorite in the UK. They were first made in 1847 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. He had seen the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) on a visit to Paris in 1840. He came back to London and tried selling sweets like that in England and also included a small motto or riddle in with the sweet. But they didn’t sell very well.
Legend says that, one night, while he was sitting in front of his log fire, he became very interested by the sparks and cracks coming from the fire. Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half.
In 1861 Tom Smith launched his new range of what he called ‘Bangs of Expectation’! It’s thought that he bought the recipe for the small cracks and bangs in crackers from a fireworks company called Brock’s Fireworks.
Crackers were also nicknamed called ‘cosaques’ and were thought to be named after the ‘Cossack’ soldiers who had a reputation for riding on their horses and firing guns into the air.
When Tom died, his expanding cracker business was taken over by his three sons, Tom, Walter and Henry. Walter introduced the hats into crackers and he also traveled around the world looking for new ideas for gifts to put in the crackers.
The company built up a big range of ‘themed’ crackers. There were ones for bachelors and spinsters (single men and women), where the gifts were things like false teeth and wedding rings! There were also crackers for Suffragettes (women who campaigned to get women the vote), war heroes and even Charlie Chaplain! Crackers were also made for special occasions like Coronations. The British Royal Family still has special crackers made for them today!
For 150 years, Christmas crackers have been a traditional part of Christmas festivities; Tom Smith created the wonderful invention of the Christmas cracker in 1847. Tom Smith Crackers were granted their first Royal Warrant in 1906, and today the Tom Smith brand owned by IG Design Group UK Ltd is still the official supplier of Christmas crackers to the Royal Household, which is held in high regard. Design Group are extremely honoured and proud to design the handmade bespoke crackers that are selected by the Royal Household.
Tom Smith Crackers have a historic spirit and a breath of heritage which is represented in the designs.
Every year they research the current trends and markets to ensure our crackers are the market leaders, `demonstrating new innovative designs and concepts that are created every year to keep the interest, air of Christmas and the tradition alive, as well as refreshing the content and jokes, we ensure that they remain classic and traditional in how they look and feel.