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Christmas crackers are fun! Kids love them and adults do too. However, the fun is short lived. Yes, we enjoy pulling the cracker, discovering the “plastic” gift inside, groaning at the joke and wearing a paper hat for a few minutes. But after this, we quickly discard the contents. The waste from Christmas crackers is immense when you consider the amount of crackers used over the festive period. The good news is that there are lots of excellent alternatives that are eco friendly and just as much fun. In fact, you might even prefer them.


Check out tons of eco-friendly Christmas cracker alternatives below.


Christmas Cracker Bags


These are my all time favourite eco-friendly alternatives to Christmas crackers.  You place the reusable bags on the table instead of crackers. Fill them with whatever you want. Some ideas include chocolates, candy, mints, a small bottle of alcohol or a table game.  The best thing about cracker bags is that they are reusable year after year, saving your money and waste. They are a fantastic way to cut down on plastic and cardboard usage over the festive period.


You can make your own bags with fabric. Or pick some up from amazon or Etsy. Burlap bags are excellent for this. The glorious thing about burlap bags is you can also use them for advent calendars, Christmas tree decorations and gift giving.



Make Your Own Crackers



Why not make your own crackers from recyclable materials? It can be a fun activity to do with the kids and literally you can do it with just toilet rolls, brown paper or tissue paper and some yarn or ribbon. People make them out of sheets of music, maps and wrapping paper too. Find out how I make plastic free Christmas crackers. 

What Should You Put in Your Crackers? 

You can write your own jokes on scraps of paper, lottery tickets, scratch cards, a small card game, – or anything else that isn’t plastic and can be recycled.

Christmas Cracker Cookies

Kids love cookies. Another cool replacement is to make Christmas cracker shaped cookies. Eat them after the main meal instead of pulling a cracker.

Christmas Envelopes


Another easy one. Buy some recycled / recyclable envelopes with a Christmas theme. Put in some goodies that people will like. Lottery tickets, scratch cards, write your own jokes, a small sweet and a paper hat if you wish.

Or you can make your own envelopes with card. You can use ready made envelopes and festive prints to decorate them. Or buy some Christmas themed card to make your own.

Wrap Up a Scratch Card

You don’t even need to make an envelope. Buy a scratch card for each person. Roll them up and secure with twine or ribbon. Have fun unrolling them and seeing if you have won any money on the big day.

Make Use of Your Napkins

Another idea is to roll up some items in the napkin. It could be include a joke, homemade paper hat, some candy – or whatever you would like. People unwrap their napkin to find out what’s inside.

Small Bottles of Alcohol

Obviously, these only work for adults, but a small glass bottle of gin or whiskey for each person makes a lovely alternative to a cracker. And the glass bottle can be recycled after.

Create a Christmas Gift Box

Any sized gift box can be filled with favors and used as a Christmas cracker alternative.

You can go as small or as big as you like. Some people use empty matchboxes. Decorate them and fill them with small candy, a homemade paper hat and a joke. Or you can purchase recyclable gift box and use them year after year. 

You can pick up the candy sized boxes featured above from amazon. Not only do they make excellent favor boxes which can be used in place of crackers, they look amazing as decorations on a Christmas tree too.

Christmas Jars

Decorate old jars for the festive season and fill them with recyclable or zero waste items for an eco friendly Christmas cracker alternative. One idea is to fill a small jar with zero waste candy or cookies to eat later!

Personalised Chocolate Bars

Why not have a personalized chocolate bar in place of a Christmas cracker. You can make your own labels. And there are many tutorials online telling you how to do this. Alternatively, you can purchase chocolate bars where they will write your message on the wrapper for you.


Another alternative is a matchbox. Fill it with a sweet, a joke and a homemade paper hat.

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