Want to make Christmas go with a bang? Go crackers for these eco-friendly options.

Crackers have adorned British Christmas tables for over 170 years, but times are a-changing – and rightly so. Did you know that forty million Christmas crackers are thrown away each year? Lined up end-to-end, this equates to 1,220 Mount Everests, all stacked on top of each other. Much of that volume is made up of non-degradable glitter, foiled paper and plastic toys. In an attempt to turn the tide of plastic, department stores and supermarkets are redesigning their festive decorations to make them wholly recyclable, while indie makers are creating beautiful refillable designs to reuse year after year. Here are a few of our favourites this year.

Conran Shop

£39 for six

These beautifully hand-crafted crackers from The Conran Shop are the perfect table adornment to keep little guests occupied through a long lunch. Each cracker contains the usual paper hat and entertaining motto, plus there’s a menagerie of fabric finger puppets – including zebras, elephants and lions. Perfect for a matinee performance.

Gisela Graham

£29 for six

For non-traditionalists, these magnificently joyful crackers from Gisela Graham in beautiful jewel tones will add fun and drama to your festive table. They’re 100 per cent plastic-free and include useful gifts that won’t be discarded straight after dessert, such as key rings, nail clippers, tweezers and playing cards.


£16.99 for six

Almost too beautiful to pull, these eco-friendly, box-style crackers are glitter- and foil-free. They’re filled with a hat, a joke and a plastic-free gift, such as cookie cutters or Champagne stoppers – useful, no? Designed to be saved and reused again and again, the beautiful marble paper would perfectly suit a timeless, elegant tablescape setting.

Kate Sproston

£14.95 each

These elegantly embroidered linen crackers by Kate Sproston and sold through Not On The High Street are future family heirlooms. With a woodland theme, you can mix and match designs, or order a set of six, complete with smart velvet ribbon. Designed to be filled and reused year after year, what they lack in ‘snap’ they make up for in eco-credentials and style.

John Lewis

£25 for eight, NOW £12.50

Looking for a musical interlude after lunch? Why not get the whole family involved with these xylophone crackers? Each one contains a piece of the instrument to assemble and then practice the tunes included. Fun, interactive and novel – the perfect recipe for a Christmas activity.

Cox & Cox

£50 for six

If you’re looking for eco-credentials in a cracker, these handmade offerings from Cox & Cox tick all the boxes. Made using sustainably sourced paper and printed with vegetable-based inks they are 100 per cent plastic free. Each contains a luxury gift, such as some British wildflower seeds, indulgent hot chocolate, pot of jam or wooden honey dipper. Novelty hat and dad joke also included.

Grace Eleanor

£3.80 each

If you’re looking for a personal touch, Grace Eleanor will hand write names onto each cracker and even a personalised message inside. Thinking of popping the question on the big day? Or just want to put a thoughtful note inside after an extraordinary year? Available in a range of colours to fit your theme, each cracker also comes with a traditional snap, paper hat, joke and assortment of chocolates.

Tom Smith

£4.99 for six

If you’re keen to build your own cracker, these fillable designs from Tom Smith are a blank canvas. Why not have children fill them with terrible jokes and drawings of the recipient? Or you could even hide a homemade treat or poem inside for a personal touch to your Christmas table.


£50 for six, NOW £39.95

With true Liberty panache, these London crackers are perfect for Christmas in the capital. The fully recyclable, graphic designs feature all the iconic landmarks and icons, from Routemasters to Big Ben. The miniature prizes nestled within include kitchen accessories, games and toys.

Updated by Lydia Mansi
November 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.