Christmas crackers are a classic holiday tradition in the U.K., but in recent years a wide variety of the party favor have begun to show up in American stores. Not familiar? They resembled a piece of wrapped candy, but it’s a paper tube inside of fancy paper. You then pull both ends until it makes a “crack” sound and spills out the goods: a slip of paper with a bad joke, a paper crown, and a small trinket of a prize, like a rubber ball or plastic ring. They usually work out to costing about a dollar (or pound note). But not all of them.
London’s Harrods is arguably the most famous department store in the world…and one of the most posh. Each year, the store sells its Harrods Traditional Berries Christmas Crackers. They’re so named because berries figure into the holidayish design on the crackers themselves, which are held tight with velvet ribbons. The gifts inside are things of value, such as a silver-plated magnifying glass or a wine stopper. The £100 ($125) price tag for a box of six reflects that.
Giant Chocolate Cracker
English artisan chocolatier Hotel Chocolat sells what it calls the “Rather Large Cracker.” Indeed: It’s 12 times the size of a regular cracker, because it’s got at least 12 times the amount of stuff inside. It includes 12 paper crowns, 12 jokes, and 40 holiday-flavored Hotel Chocolat chocolate bonbons, such as mulled wine truffles and “Christmas brownies.” Cost: £36, or $45.
High-end London department store Fortnum and Mason is offering the Sensational Six Person Super Cracker. Resembling a snowflakes, it’s six crackers combined into one. Up to six people (or three people with both hands) are all supposed to pull on the cracker’s ends at the same time. The items inside are a bit fancier than the usual cracker fare: the jokes are original, and were written by author/comedian/actor Stephen Fry. The prizes: sheet music for a Christmas song, and eight musical whistles, each tuned to a different note, with which you’re supposed to play the music. Cost: £65, or about $80.
Gin and Cracker
Crackers are mostly kid stuff, but this one is strictly for adults. The Drinks by the Dram Gin Christmas Crackers come in a pack of six, and each one contains a personal-sized bottle of a different top shelf gin from around the U.K. (It costs £40, or $50; tonic not included.)
In 2014, an online luxury goods merchant calledoffered some of the most expensive crackers in the world. Gift-givers pick ahead of time which extremely fancy item they want inside their cracker. They could choose from a £77,500 trip around the world, for example, or a £190,000 Aston Martin. Or a yacht. Or a 20-diamond Cartier necklace.