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Article: Crackers for All Seasons and Reasons

Crackers for All Seasons and Reasons

Get Ready to be Surprised!

We all know that crackers aren’t just for Christmas – right? Why limit all the fun to once a year! We’ve recently celebrated Christmas in July (check out our blog, in case you missed it!), and then there are Easter bonbons, tailor-made crackers for wedding parties, birthdays, graduations, Valentine’s Day, May Day, Halloween … any number of exciting opportunities!

And how about bringing these events into the mix?

crackers for events other than christmas

The Cracker Meets Royalty

What’s a Royal Coronation Festival without the elegance of a beautiful arrangement of crackers? For four days during the 2013 Coronation Festival (the 11th to the 14th July), the Tom Smith Cracker Company, as a member of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, held an exhibition in the gardens of Buckingham Palace (why, where else?!), which was met with such acclaim that, two months later, the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Warrant was bestowed upon the Tom Smith Co. for the supply of royal Christmas wrapping paper!

Crackers Fit for a Queen

Crackers Fit for a Queen

Credit: Tom Smith Co.

And, of course, let’s not consider penny pinching during such a grand occasion! Tiffany and Co. had it all sorted during the summer holiday of the 2013 Coronation Festival when they produced the purportedly most expensive cracker ever. Replete with a selection of 11 pieces of diamond jewellery (including a platinum necklace and a pink tourmaline ring), this limited-edition “little blue cracker” piece sold for a cool 180,000 British pounds (over 300,000 AUD)!

Also entering the market were the aptly-named “Millionaire’s Crackers”, which graced their lucky recipients with a piece of fine gold or silver jewellery, nestled snugly in a custom-designed solid silver box. For the more budget minded (ahem!), Fortnum and Mason designed a decorative wooden presentation box containing six elegant crackers for just 1,000 pounds!

Oh, and incidentally, prior to this in 2010, the British Royal Mint made a unique £10,000 cracker containing five 22 carat gold coins! Please let us know if you come across it!

Tiffany and Co.’s Little Blue Cracker

Tiffany and Co.’s Little Blue Cracker

Credit: Evening Standard

Moving on, and just to mix it up a bit, we have the once-popular and, some would say, rather evangelic Suffragettes crackers.

Women’s Suffrage and the Christmas Cracker

The Suffragette movements— activist women’s organisations in the USA and UK in the early 20th century—might seem an odd theme for a Christmas cracker! Ah, but on the contrary! Read on!

The magnificently-named Alice Maud Mary Sparagnapane (1862-1936), generally known under her married name of Maud Sennett, was an English actress and militant suffragette, arrested four times for her activism. In her childhood and youth, however, she spent her time in her family’s Christmas cracker and ornamental confectionery business.

As an adult, and drawing on her skills and seemingly considerable talent at multi-tasking, Maud, together with her husband Henry, took over her family’s confectionery business, all the while fighting for women’s rights to vote. And, making the most of a clever and strategic marketing opportunity, Maud would often post advertisements for their crackers in programs for the numerous suffrage fairs and events held in and around London!  

A fellow English suffragette, Emily Davison (1872-1913) was such a militant fighter for her cause that she was incarcerated nine times, went on seven hunger strikes and was force-fed on forty-nine occasions! Ever the survivor, she continued to fight for women’s rights until she met an untimely death at the 1913 English Derby. Walking onto the track during a horse race, she was fatally struck by King George V's horse, “Anmer”.

Subsequent to this tragic event, in 1914, the Tom Smith firm manufactured a range of Votes For Women crackers, in the violet, white and green colours associated with the suffragette movement. The bonbons contained “souvenirs of the agitation” with the proviso that they were “amusing to all and offensive to none”. But, as you can see in the image below, each box carried a warning that they were not suitable for juveniles! Go figure!)

Votes for Women Crackers

Votes for Women Crackers

Credit: Daily Mail

A cracker stroll through history

What better way to celebrate the latest in-thing … to acknowledge an important event … to identify an exciting occasion … than by a series of bespoke crackers? Well, there have been plenty! To the point, in fact, that there are illustrated inventories of crackers, including the Tom Smith catalogues, preserved in the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum’s Archive of Art and Design, which date back to 1877!  As they say on the V&A site, these archives are wonderful in that they provide “an unusual visual record of social and political events in British history, and an insight into the changing styles of commercial design.” Impressive!

 Historical interest aside, there’s also the creative and often highly entertaining artwork on the bonbon boxes, as well as witty poems, snappy lines and risqué ditties, produced by specially-commissioned artists and writers. Entertainment plus!

 Here are just a few of the themes we’ve seen referenced over time:

 ·         celebrating the end of the First World War in 1918

·         the momentous discovery of Ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922

·         the world tour by the Prince of Wales, in 1926 (let’s not mention the abdication, though!)

·         the English Derby (pops up again – see above!)

·         popular crazes, such as jazz music and the latest motorcars

·         Charlie Chaplin, the wildly popular silent movie star

·         the joyous arrival of the wireless in everyday homes.

Derby Crackers

Derby Crackers

Credit: Anne Louise Avery

Wireless Crackers

Wireless Crackers

Credit: Cultural Heritage Learning

While on this topic, it would be remiss not to mention how un-PC some of our bonbon production colleagues were back in the day (by today’s standards, that is). Just by way of example, there was racist language, so-called “amusing” tales about the struggle for women’s rights, Santa Claus masquerading as a fighter with the latest military hardware, and a motoring-themed box featuring a miniature bottle of champagne (drink-driving – que?)

And how about this one? (No giggling allowed!) In 1921, an Anglo-French box of crackers called La Cigarette contained real cigarettes and “a magic matchbox”. Each cracker also included a verse promoting the joys of lighting up (women not to be excluded!), such as this charmer:

Some say girls shouldn’t smoke;

What stuff! What do they know about it;

When every woman has a puff;

And wouldn’t be without it.

On that note, just remember the following:

What did Santa say to the smoker?
Please don’t smoke, it’s bad for my elf!

Crackers with Cigarettes and Champagne: Quelle Surprise!

Crackers with Cigarettes and Champagne: Quelle Surprise!

Credit: Daily Mail

Just for the Fun of It!

We all know the excitement of discovering what’s inside our bonbon (we’re talking the must-have Bonbon Fusion crackers, of course!) and there’s also the fun of the SNAP! as we crack each one open!

 Well, as it happens, the creators of the BBC QI comedy series decided to take bonbon cracking to the next level! In a play-off between two comedians for the most crackers snapped by an individual in 30 seconds, panellist Alan Davies accomplished 35 successful cracks, in what was not only the highlight of this 2020 Christmas special (worth watching – catch it here!) but also a new Guinness World Record!

 At the rate of more than one snap per second, this was a record well earned, wouldn’t you agree? However, it only stood until 12 December 2021 when English DJ and singer Joel Corry managed 41 successful cracks at the UK Music Station Capital FM’s Jingle Bat Ball. Corry was so excited when he was presented with his Guinness Record Certificate, that he jumped in the air, shouting “This is a dream come true!”

Bonbon Cracking: “A Dream Come True!”

Bonbon Cracking: “A Dream Come True!”

Credit: 95-106 Capital FM

Record breaking kudos notwithstanding, we know you’ll find the fun of the SNAP! is just the beginning of the entertainment and laughter you’ll get from our range of adventure-filled crackers at Bonbon Fusion! And more ranges coming soon!

A Bonbon Adventure Game!

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