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Ethical Christmas Crackers to Transform Your Table

Ethical Christmas Crackers - Alternatives to Christmas Crackers

Crackers For Your Christmas Table That Are Ethical And Festive

As wonderful as Christmas and the holiday season is, the big day comes with a lot of unnecessary baggage. Unethical festive baggage. 

Waste is a huge contributor to polluting our planet, and by simply making some small changes to the festive season, we can really make a difference. For example, replacing the usual pull-once and bin traditional crackers with ethical Christmas crackers.

And, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article. 

We’ve had a good look around and found the best, festive yet still stunning, ethical Christmas crackers to transform your table on the big day. 

But, instead of buying your eco-friendly Christmas crackers this year, how about making your own, or finding some alternatives to Christmas crackers? Keep on reading to find out how.

Related: You may also be interested in reading 6 best ethical and eco friendly gifts this Christmas.

History of Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers are an iconic and traditional British heritage dating back to Victorian times. As with many other festive traditions we know and love nowadays.

A traditional cracker is made up of thin cardboard, in the shape of a tube, and twisted at both ends. A cracker usually contains a small gift, paper hat and a joke. 

Two people then pull each end of the cracker to make a ‘bang’ and the contents of the cracker falls out.


Tom Smith, a British baker and confectioner, invented the Christmas cracker. Back in the Victorian era, in 1847, a visit to Paris inspired the idea. 

Fast forward over 150 years, and Christmas crackers, are still a huge part of Christmas.

Have a read all about the history of Christmas crackers in our ultimate guide here.

Ethical Christmas Crackers

Aside from the unnecessary waste of the paper once the crackers have been pulled once sitting down for your huge Christmas lunch, the toys are commonly made from plastic. 

And, plastic is one of the biggest threats to our environment and marine life. A threat that is rapidly increasing and becoming a major concern as plastic debris is washed up all over the world.

Have a read of this article by Forbes on five ways that plastics harm the environment.

Fact: In 1992, a shipping crate transporting 28,000 plastic rubber ducks fell overboard when it was lost at sea as it was sailing from Hong Kong to the United States. To this day, these rubber ducks are washing up on shores all over the world. (Source)

Single-use plastic, especially, can not fully biodegrade. Therefore it ends up in the ground, waterways and sadly eaten by marine life.

Crackers are an iconic and tradition festivity, which we don’t want to cast aside. And so, finding sustainable alternatives is the way forward.

Consequently, to help the planet and not contribute to the plastic problem, we’ve put together a list of ethical Christmas crackers for your table this year. 

Where to Buy Ethical Christmas Crackers

Extra Special Touch Personalised Eco Christmas Crackers

Personalised Ethical Christmas Cracker

We love the luxurious design of these crackers. Once ‘pulled’ they become full-sized napkins. Just wash after they’ve been used, and reuse them again next year!

Each cracker can be personalised with a single initial embroidered along with leaves and pine cones in subtle Christmas colours. You can also select red or green velvet ribbon to tie your crackers together.

Inside, you can find a cardboard barrel to reuse each year and fill with your own hat, joke and gifts with instructions on how to make your perfect ethical Christmas cracker.

2 Green Monkeys Personalised Napkin Christmas Crackers


Treat your guests with a personal napkin Christmas cracker. Select the colour and the name or message for each napkin.

We love that these crackers come empty, but with the cardboard tube inside, so you can fill the cracker with exactly what you like. 

Just ask your guests to ‘pull’ the cracker, find the gifts, then they can use and keep their personalised napkin. This cracker is a napkin, stunning cracker, and personalised gift all in one!

Kate Sproston Design Woodland Reusable Christmas Crackers

Woodland Reusable Ethical Christmas Crackers

If you’re looking for some more traditional, ethical crackers then these are for you. 

Choose from the six beautiful designs: holly, mistletoe, robin, reindeer, wreath or tree motif or buy one of each!

These stunning crackers are made from 100% natural linen and embroidered with satin thread. We love that they come empty, with a durable cardboard tube to reuse and fill each year.

Little Doris Designs Eco-Friendly Luxury Christmas Crackers

Eco Friendly Luxury Christmas Cracker

If you’re looking for some eco-friendly crackers that pop, then these luxury designed crackers are perfect. 

These crackers are made from recycled kraft card and the design is hand stamped onto the cracker. 

Inside each cracker, you will find a beautiful wine charm for your glasses during your Christmas lunch which can be reused each year. Just select from aluminium or copper. 

Nancy & Betty Studio Luxury Father Christmas Crackers


These beautiful crackers from Nancy & Betty Studio are handmade in England, and the design is printed with vegetable-based ink. 

These crackers are entirely ethical with plastic-free gifts and recyclable material including the packaging (apart from the bows, but they do note that these can be used for crafts). 

We absolutely love these Santa Claus themed crackers, and struggled to choose just one design as their entire collection of crackers are beautiful. You can find brussel sprouts, London icons, and reindeer designs. The list goes on!

Make Your Own Crackers

Making your own Christmas crackers is an amazing way to create ethical crackers for your table. 

By doing so, you know exactly where all the materials have come from and can handpick which festive treats go into your homemade cracker. Not to mention you can customise them exactly as you wish.


We love these three different options so have a read, choose your favourite, and get your creative streak ready!

And, if you’re wondering what to fill your homemade crackers with, then keep on reading…

Traditional Handmade Cracker

Traditional crackers are not as hard to make as you may think, and it can be such a fun activity too, so get the kids involved!

When choosing your paper or thin card for the outside of your cracker, consider using recycled kraft paper for an even more sustainable cracker.

You Will Need

Christmas Crackers - Alternatives to Christmas Crackers


  1. Place your toilet roll tube on the long edge of your A4 decorative paper and secure this in place with some sticky tape.
  2. Thread a cracker snap through the toilet roll and hold it in place with more Sellotape to the decorative paper.
  3. Roll the toilet roll across the paper so the tube is covered and tape this down to secure it.
  4. Use ribbon to tie one of the ends of the toilet roll 
  5. Fill your cracker with your hat, gift and joke – just be careful not to overfill.
  6. Tie your ribbon around the other end of your toilet roll to seal your cracker
  7. Finish decorating your cracker with more ribbon, present toppers or just leave it as it is – and there we go! You’ve made a cracker.
Top Tip: If you’re time-poor, but still want to make your own set of crackers, you could buy a make your own cracker set to customise and decorate to your heart’s content. These crackers also come with the hats and jokes – all you need to do is add a toy, game or treat.

Homemade Fabric Cracker

We love fabric crackers as they can be used year after year. And, once opened the fabric crackers can be used as a napkin for your Christmas lunch. Just wash after each use and it’s good to go again!

And yes, we know they don’t make that famous cracker ‘bang’. But, just think how smug you can feel knowing how much you are helping the planet with your reusable crackers. 

However, it is possible to make them ‘pop’! We found this article from Simple Crafty Life who has tried and tested her fabric Christmas crackers. Click here to find out how.

To find out how to make a homemade fabric cracker, take a look at this simple tutorial

Filling Your Cracker

You can fill your cracker or gift bag with whatever you like. The most common cracker essentials are paper hats, a small gift and a joke or riddle. 

Paper hats are relatively easy to get your hands on, and we like these fun, colourful hats from Amazon.

We all love a silly joke at Christmas, and jokes and riddles are where you can really have some fun! To keep things simple, buy some jokes online to pop into your cracker, or make your own! Use our Christmas cracker jokes as inspiration!

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?

A mince spy

What do snowmen eat for dinner?


The gift is entirely optional, but try and keep them plastic-free to keep your Christmas crackers ethical. We love to fill our crackers with a tasty treat – something we can guarantee will not go to waste!

Better yet, find small items lying around your home. Or, make it into a game and find a small item that belongs to each person (e.g. keychain, jewellery, cards, magnet) – the game is to guess who owns each item. It’s not as easy as you think!

Alternatives to Christmas Crackers

There are many alternatives to Christmas crackers, and instead of getting rid of the tradition altogether, take a look at our options we love to use instead.

How about filling a cotton or hessian bag, or a festive stocking with sweet treats for each place setting. Or, you could keep it more traditional and fill them with a paper hat, small (plastic-free) gift, and a joke.

There are many hessian and cotton bags available online so they are very easy to source at a low cost. Our top picks are these beautiful snowflake bags and these traditional red and green printed hessian bags (featured below). 

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We love these mini festive stockings (featured below) or these fun, Christmas stockings which are perfect for children.

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The best part is they can be reused every single year, so you can just forget about the job of buying Christmas crackers each year. Think of all the money you’ll save!

Our Final Thoughts on Ethical Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers can be extremely wasteful and the plastic toys are often unnecessary. Especially when there are a large number of your friends and family sat around the table. 

By making some small changes, and being conscious of the unnecessary waste, you can really make a difference.

And, if that isn’t enough, as well as helping the planet you should save some pennies too, to put towards other festivities over the holiday season!

Related Ethical And Christmas Decor Articles:

Ethical Christmas Crackers to Transform Your Table

1 thought on “Ethical Christmas Crackers to Transform Your Table”

  1. Pingback: History of Christmas Crackers: The Ultimate Guide - Open for Christmas

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