English Crackers  

Christmas Crackers
and Party Favors for All Occasions

Party Favors
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Party Cracker?

"Crackers" are decorative party favors widely used in Great Britain to celebrate a variety of special occasions and festive events. They consist of a beautifully wrapped and decorated cardboard cylinder containing a paper crown (tissue party hat), a motto (British joke or riddle), a snap (popping device), and a small gift or novelty item. At dinners and parties, crackers are used to decorate individual place settings and are usually opened prior to serving the meal or refreshments. The pulling of crackers and donning of the party hats creates a relaxed, festive atmosphere certain to get any party function off the ground. Crackers provide a colorful and exciting start to any celebration, and also present each guest with a gift by which to remember the days events. At Christmas, crackers make great tree ornaments, stocking stuffers, and welcoming gifts for visiting friends and relatives. They can also be used as invitations, promotional gifts, an advertising medium, shower and wedding favors, and individualized gifts for special occasions such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

What is the origin of the Party Cracker?

Crackers have been a traditional part of British Christmas festivities and other celebrations since Victorian times and are greatly enjoyed by children and adults alike. They were invented in the mid-1840's by a London pastry cook named Tom Smith, who came upon the idea while on a trip to Paris where he witnessed the French holiday custom of wrapping sugared almonds and other sweets in a twist of colored paper. Smith included a romantic message in his early crackers which he marketed in Britain as "Kiss Mottos". However the product enjoyed only limited success until Smith devised a way to make the cracker "pop" when pulled apart (see below) .

What is the device that makes the Cracker "pop" and is it dangerous?

The popping sound that crackers make when they are pulled is produced by a device called a "Cracker Snap." The "snap" consists of two narrow pieces of thin cardboard that are treated with a small amount of aggregate material at one end and joined together with the treated areas overlapping. When the free ends of the "snap" are pulled, the treated areas rub across each other producing a small, friction-activated pop or crack. "Cracker snaps" are not dangerous in any way as long as they are used inside crackers as intended. They should not be used on their own as noisemakers, or employed in the construction of other craft items.

How do you open Crackers?

Crackers are usually shared between two individuals, one pulling on each end. With the ends firmly gripped, the cracker is slowly pulled apart using steady pressure and a twisting motion. This will tear the cracker open along the gathers and activate the "cracker snap" producing a small **BANG**. To ensure that the cracker pops, we recommend that the thumb and fore-finger are used to pin the "snap" against the inside wall of the cracker end while pulling apart. A set of instructions describing the technique for pulling crackers is included in each box of crackers.

What type of things are found inside of Party Crackers?

Our party crackers contain a paper crown (folded tissue party hat), a motto (British joke or riddle), the "cracker snap," and a small gift or novelty item. We offer a variety of gift types in our crackers, ranging from noisemakers and other party novelties to several selections of collectable gifts and keepsakes that we import from England. Olde English Crackers strives to source quality products for it's crackers and is well established as the leading manufacturer of quality crackers in the United States. A photograph showing the type of gifts found in each of our
pre-filled crackers accompanies the presentation of each cracker design on our products pages.

Can the outer covering of the Cracker be customized for our event?

Because the outer covering of the cracker is comprised of Gift Wrapping Paper, we are able to offer our customers an extensive selection of printed papers and solid color wrappings for the construction of their custom-designed crackers. The exterior of the cracker can be further customized by the application of custom-printed labels and/or various decorative elements such as satin ribbon bows, silk flowers, and colored satin leaves.

Can the gift contents of the Cracker be customized?

We will gladly source unique gift and novelty items for our customers and provide price quotes on custom-designed crackers incorporating such items. We will also be happy to fill customer- supplied gifts and/or messages into our crackers, as long as these items do not pose any danger to our workers or the customer and his/her party guests. All customer-supplied gifts must be able to fit inside a cylinder measuring 2 inches in diameter by 3.5 inches in length.

Is there a minimum order for custom-designed crackers?

We have a minimum order of 24 crackers for custom orders made from in stock materials. Minimums for orders involving special order papers, decorations, and gifts vary considerably depending on the items requested, but can be as low as 50-100 crackers.

Can I order crackers that I fill myself?

All of our stock and custom-designed crackers can be supplied with one end unfinished, which allows the customer to fill the crackers with his/her own gifts. Our fill-your own crackers are supplied fully assembled, but with the ribbon tie securing one end loose, so that the cracker can be opened and the ribbon retied once the cracker has been filled. The alternative to filling your own crackers is to send us your gifts and/or messages and we will fill these items into your crackers for a nominal fee. Some of our standard cracker designs are available in a fill-your-own version in boxed sets of six crackers and bulk boxes of 50 crackers. All other designs can be custom ordered in a fill-your-own version.

How are the Crackers shipped?

Orders are shipped via USPS First Class, Priority, and Express Mail delivery and by FedEx Ground and Express services. Orders of pre-filled stock designs will be shipped within 48 hours of the orders receipt. Custom orders are shipped per arranged date, usually within 7-10 days of order confirmation. Larger shipments (500 + crackers) and orders involving special order materials and/or gifts usually require longer lead times. Shipping costs are calculated by our secure ordering system and are available for the customers’ consideration prior to finalizing the order.

How long will it take to receive my order of Crackers?

Non-expedited shipments of crackers that we show as being in-stock will normally be delivered within 4-7 days from time the order is confirmed. Shorter delivery times are available for Express and Overnight shipments. Most orders of custom crackers are delivered in 10-14 days, but longer delivery times are usually required for orders involving special order materials. We will notify the customer by telephone or E-mail of any significant delays in the above quoted delivery times that we are able to predict.

How far in advance should I place my order for custom Party Crackers?

Orders for custom crackers should be placed at least four weeks prior to the event date to assure that the order can be worked into our production schedule. Order quantity can usually be adjusted after the initial order is placed, sometimes to within several days of the delivery date, should the guest count for your event change. However, it is usually not possible to revise the order quantity for custom orders that involve special materials and/or gifts, once these items have been ordered.

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Olde English Crackers
4071 Hannegan Rd., Suite S
Bellingham, WA 98226-7623
Phone: 1-360-715-2972
Toll Free: 1-877-606-2972