Christmas In July (And Christmas dinner itself!) simply wouldn't be the same without Christmas Crackers - Or as they're also commonly called - Christmas bon bons.
The English tradition (because that's where ours in Australia came from) began when an English lollie maker went to France and saw their bon bons being individually wrapped as small gifts. That was Tom Smith's trip in the 1840's - and it all started there. Home, he began to wrap his sweets individually, and to add small love notes to each one. He launched them at Christmas and they were a huge hit. He started adding tiny charms, and wrapping them in a cylinder and called them "Christmas Bonbonnes."
He decided to go one better, and inspired by his crackling fire, and through much trial and error, came up with a cracker! That of course is why there are 2 names for Christmas Crackers and Christmas Bon Bons.. That was 1860 - and what a wonderful idea - and a much-loved hit.
But why are the jokes so bad?
Professor Richard Wiseman, who specialises in humour, may have the answer. He's studied jokes and humour, and even ran an experiment to find the funniest joke in the world. You can see it at https://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/. (He also found that Australians were the 5th most likely in the world to laugh at jokes…)
He thinks the key to the success of modern cracker jokes is precisely because they're not funny. "If the joke is good and you tell it and it doesn't get a laugh, it's your problem. If the joke's bad and it doesn't get a laugh, then it's the joke's problem. My theory is that it's a way of not embarrassing people at Christmas." In fact, they're just about people bonding together. Think how hard it would be to tell a joke that everyone; kids, grandparents, teenagers, would all get and laugh at? Probably impossible. But getting into the spirit of a silly joke, that everyone knows is silly, but still has a pun, is easy!
So there it is. Those Christmas Cracker Bon Bons are there for sharing, there for bonding, and there to make great times even better. Oh. And there's that hat…
Merry Christmas In July!
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