Inside: A step-by-step tutorial on making repurposed Christmas crackers, including free printable cheesy Christmas jokes.
One of the best things about Christmas dinner is the crackers on the table! And handmade Christmas crackers are the best!
In my family, the favourite part of pulling the Christmas cracker on the table is not the loud bang or the small gift that falls onto the table or shoots across the room more often than not! It’s the cracker jokes!
This is when it gets rowdy when everyone vies to tell their cheesy Christmas jokes. The aim is not to get the loudest laugh or even a chuckle, but it’s the groans!
The cheesier the joke, the larger the groan!
That is one of the reasons I like homemade Christmas crackers; I get to choose the jokes!
It’s so easy to make your own Christmas crackers!
You can use paper matching your Christmas table decor or personalize them using maps. I adore vintage maps as they conjure up romantic images of travels and exploration. Or they trigger memories of places you once lived, where you met your loved one, or of special vacations.
Also, vintage roadmaps can be bought very cheaply. Often cheaper than craft paper or wrapping paper, which makes for very affordable homemade map crackers affordable.
You’ll be repurposing too! Which is always a good thing. Luckily with many vintage roadmaps, the roads are marked in red, and the background is often white and green. To me, those are the colours of Christmas.
Why Make Christmas Crackers With Maps
When you make your own Christmas crackers, not only do you get to choose the design, but you also get to choose what goes inside them. As well as the obligatory paper hat, you can write your cheesy jokes and choose your little trinket.
The gifts can be tailored to the person likely to pull the handmade Christmas cracker. That could be something homemade, sweets and chocolates for kids.
My favourite is a cute miniature gin bottle. Just for the adults, of course! However, I have to be careful with that one as the contents of the crackers tend to go flying when pulled, so fragile (glass) gifts may get broken.
You will find this craft among these other cool Christmas DIYs for adults.
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What you need to make your own Christmas crackers
- Vintage maps – I use old roadmaps. I pick the ones with more Christmassy colours, such as red, green and white. You can also use printouts of old maps from a vintage atlas. There are some cool vintage North Pole maps on Pictureboxblue, which I think would make great handmade Christmas crackers.
- Toilet roll cardboard tubes – 1 for each cracker
- Velvet ribbon in red or green – I used a ribbon about 6mm thick.
- Scissors, ruler, pen, sticky tape and a glue stick.
- Tags /labels – These are optional embellishments to make your Christmas crackers more personal. You can place tags with names on the front of the handmade Christmas crackers and double them up as a place name. For my map Christmas crackers and to keep with the travel theme, I made mini airline tags (download here). I used destinations that are special for those who will be sitting around my Christmas table this festive season.
What to put inside handmade Christmas crackers
- Christmas cracker snaps – that’s what makes the bang when you pull the cracker and the best bit!
- Tissue paper hats – You can easily buy these online or make your own (tutorial here).
- Trinkets – Instead of the normal useless rubbish you get with shop-bought crackers (unless you spend a fortune). You can choose your trinkets and gifts. From miniature spirit bottles for adults to handmade keyrings, jewellery or chocolates. The possibilities are endless as long as they fit inside the cardboard tube.
- Jokes – There is nothing like a cheesy Christmas joke to get the whole table groaning. It’s fun trying to guess what the punchline will be, and it gets everyone, young and old, involved in the banter around the table. You are welcome to print out and use the same cracker jokes I have for my handmade crackers (see below). Or you can find more here.
Best Free Printable Christmas Cracker Jokes
Here is a list of my current favourite cheesy Christmas cracker jokes to make the whole family chuckle and groan. All these jokes are family-friendly and suitable for adults and children of all ages.
There is a list of 31 below that you can use. I have also conveniently made two printable sheets of 16 of my favourite jokes from the list that you can cut out and use in your handmade Christmas crackers.
Just click on the title above the sheet to download them.
31 Cheesy Cracker Jokes For Christmas
- What do acrobats like to drink at Christmas? – Anything in a tumbler
- Why was the turkey in the pop group? – Because He was the only one with drumsticks
- What did adam say the day before Christmas? – It’s Christmas Eve
- Why did no one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay? – Because they were too deer
- What happened to the man who stole an advent calendar? – He got 25 days
- What do Snowmen Have for breakfast? – Snowflakes
- How did Mary & Joseph Know Tha Jesus was 7lb 60z when he was born? – They had a weigh in a manger
- Why did Santa have to go to the hospital? – Because of his poor elf
- Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing? –They’re always dropping their needles
- Why did the red-nosed reindeer help the old lady cross the road? – It would have been Rudolph him not to.
- What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? – Frostbite
- What kind of motorbike does Santa ride? – A Holly Davidson
- What do you call an old snowman? – Water
- What’s a reindeer’s favourite singer? – Beyonsleigh
- What’s green covered in tinsel and goes ‘ribbet, ribbet’? – Mistle-toad!
- What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school? – The elf-abet
- What do snowmen wear on their heads? – Ice caps
- Did Rudolph go to school? – No, he was elf-taught
- What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? – Tinselitis!
- What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? – A Christmas Quacker
- What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a Chimney? – Claustrophobia
- What’s Santa’s favourite pizza? – One that’s deep-pan, crisp and even!
- What comes at the end of Christmas Day? – The letter Y
- Why is it getting harder to buy advent calendars? – Their days are numbered
- Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? – A mince spy!
- What do you call an elf that sings? – A Christmas wrapper
- Where does mistletoe go to become famous? – HOLLYwood
- What do you call blind reindeer? – No-eye-deer
- What do you call an elf that runs away from Santa’s workshop? – A rebel without a Claus!
- What is it called when a snowman has a temper tantrum? – A meltdown
- Where do Santa’s reindeer stop for coffee? – Star-bucks!
- What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet? – The Christmas alphabet has Noel.
- What goes “Oh, Oh, Oh”? – Santa walking backwards!
- What did Luke Skywalker say after he planted a Christmas tree farm? – May the forest be with you!
- How do Christmas trees get ready for a night out? – They spruce up!
How to Make Christmas Crackers
Step 1: Cut your maps into a rectangle 17cm by 31cm. You can use scissors or a rotary cutter if you want a straighter edge. The A4 paper is slightly shorter than 31cm if you are using downloaded maps. Don’t worry about this. Just make the handmade Christmas crackers with the A4 printout. But bear in mind you may have to cut 5-10mm off the length of your cardboard tube for it to fit properly.
Step 2: Next, take one piece of map paper, turn it over and mark the midpoint lengthways. Fold up both ends of the map, so they meet in the middle. Crease this fold. Next, fold the map back on itself so that the creased folds touch.
Step 3: With a ruler, mark a line on the back of the map paper 2cm from the folds. Then using a pair of scissors, cut out triangles of paper about 5mm all along the edge of the folds to the drawn line. Make sure you start 5mm from the end and finish 5mm before the end (see diagram).
Step 4: Next, unfold the map and lay it flat. With the map face down, lay the cardboard tube onto the middle of the paper (in between the triangle cuts). Thread the cracker snap through the middle of the tube and tape it to both ends of the map to keep it in place. Then place all the other things you want in the cracker inside the cardboard tube. Such as the hat, cheesy Christmas joke and gift.
Step 5: Roll up the map and secure it using the glue stick to finish off. Then wrap two lengths of velvet ribbon (approx 18cm) around the cracker. Pull the ribbon tight on either end of the cardboard tube and tie it.
For many years I was a Beaver Scout leader, and I used to get my Beavers to make their own Christmas crackers each year. We didn’t use maps for these handmade Christmas crackers but old comics such as the Beano. They would have fun thinking up their Christmas jokes to put inside, along with a homemade paper hat and some treats.
A giant handmade Christmas cracker is a great way to wrap a gift at Christmas. And if you use a personalized map to make that giant cracker, it will only add to the gift.
Other Christmas Craft Ideas
You may want to check out some of my other map themed gift ideas and Christmas posts.
For more thrifty Christmas ideas, visit cheapthriftyliving.com