Why do we have Christmas crackers and which of the jokes are actually funny?

The glittering cardboard crackers come complete with a paper crown, toy and joke… but that was not always the case.

Why do we have Christmas crackers?

Christmas crackers are a British tradition dating back to Victorian times when in the early 1850s, London confectioner Tom Smith started adding a motto to his sugared almond bon-bons which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package.

The story goes that he was inspired to add 'bang' when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on the fire.

He decided to make a log shaped package that would produce a surprise bang and inside would be an almond and a motto and soon the sugared almond was replaced with a small gift.

Originally sold as the Cosaque it soon became known by the public as the 'cracker'.

But it wasn't until the early 1900s that the paper crown was added by Smith's sons, Tom, Walter and Henry, after he died and gave the business to them.

The idea behind the paper crown is thought to have originated from the Twelfth Night celebrations, when a King or Queen was appointed to overlook the proceedings.

Then, by the end of the 1930s, the love poems were replaced by jokes or limericks.

What are the best Christmas cracker jokes?

They aren't usually that funny – in fact, they are almost cringe worthy that even the champion of Dad jokes would avoid.

But in 2016, a list of the finest list of Christmas cracker jokes was compiled by UKTV's Gold that might actually get you giggling.

A gag about Brussels sprouts being missing from Christmas dinner post-Brexit was voted as the funniest cracker joke in 2016.

While the winning joke was centred on one of the biggest subjects of the year, other topics such as Sports Direct, Roy Hodgson and Jeremy Corbyn were also covered.

Here are the top 20 jokes that made the list.

How to make your own Christmas cracker

You can make your own Christmas crackers using empty toilet rolls and tissue or wrapping paper.

Wrap paper around the toilet roll leaving enough paper on the ends for people to hold onto.

Pop personalised gifts, sweets and jokes into the tube.

You can even buy paper crowns and cracker poppers online to complete your festive fun.

Then add card or stiffener in the remaining paper to keep its cylindrical shape, before tying or twisting the paper at the end of the tube.

Your cracker is now finished and ready to be shared with party guests!

Other fun facts about Christmas crackers

The largest Christmas cracker in the world measured 207 foot (63.1m) long and 13 foot (4m) in diameter.

It was made by the parents of children at Ley Hill School and Pre-School, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on December 20, 2001.

The biggest Christmas cracker pull was done by 1,478 people at an event organised by Honda Japan at Tochigi Proving Ground in Japan, on October 18, 2009.

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