This post is now out of season, but I thought it might be of interest for next Christmas, or other cracker-pulling events during the year.
I saw reusable crackers on the Onyabags website and thought that they were a great idea. Crackers are generally wasteful – expensive, excessively packaged with contents that are discarded and forgotten about by the end of Christmas dinner. The thought of most of the cracker being salvaged from the bin pleased me, so I ordered some.
To buy the 8 crackers that I needed, it cost me £26.28, which included a snap, but no hat, gift or joke. I had a choice of about 8 different designs.
How did they measure up?
I suspect that opinions on these crackers will differ wildly from person to person but here’s mine…
Appearance: They are attractive with plenty of space to hold your gift of choice. They don’t look ‘reusable’ though, so warnings had to be issued to all guests not to chuck them out after pulling… ‘It makes us look a bit uptight’ pointed out my Other Half correctly. To be fair though, we were uptight anyway having the responsibility for cooking Christmas dinner, so no one noticed!
Quality: I was surprised to find out that they were made from thick (good quality) card. I thought that, being reusable, they would perhaps be made of thin plastic for durability. It slightly alarmed me that when we folded them into shape, the ‘wear and tear’ started immediately as the card bent. However, by the end of Christmas dinner they still looked in good enough condition.
Ease of assembly: They came flat-packed, so we had to fold each cracker into shape, thread the snap through it, stuff with gifts, and tie the decorative ribbons into bows. There is a cute video on the internet that shows how easy this is to do. If you’d watched a video of us doing it though, it might have put you off! The air turned blue as we fumbled our way through the first couple, but we got into a rhythm and managed it, although my Other Half just couldn’t master tying the small ribbon into a bow…
Contents: Obviously there are none included, so we bought bumper supplies of paper hats and cracker snaps on ebay which should last us for a few years. I collated gifts from things I had in the house anyway, mostly left over from stocking filler multipacks and party bags supplies.
Oh, and I copied out jokes myself from the internet!
Value for Money: There’s no denying the crackers are expensive for what they are. I am expecting to recoup this over the years, but have to accept that I won’t know how economical or otherwise they are until they fall apart and I can retrospectively work out cost per use!
Ethical: They are recyclable, cut down on waste per use and – in our case at least – got people talking about waste over Christmas dinner. (I appreciate not everyone would think waste discussions over Christmas dinner is a good thing!!)
So, would I buy them again?
Yes, I probably would. They were a bit fiddly, and less than perfect, but I think they’ll be easier to assemble next year. Ultimately, they are a good idea and, for those of us trying to reduce our rubbish, we don’t have many other options.
For the purposes of this post, I just asked my Other Half if he’d buy them again. His answer was ‘Buy them again? Surely the point is that we’ll never buy them again – they’re reusable.’
Thank you darling, that’s actually a good point.