3 ways to elevate shop-bought Christmas crackers – making them look more expensive, stylish and personal

Why not personalise your crackers with these easy hacks and wow your guests?

A Christmas table setting with a scalloped placemat and napkin and ribbon-decorated cracker
(Image credit: Future PLC/Adrian Briscoe)

Christmas crackers are an essential and traditional part of any festive dinner. But the look and contents of regular shop-bought crackers are rarely anything to write home about. However, there are easy ways you can make whatever crackers you're working with look expensive, as well as more personal and stylish to complement your Christmas table decoration ideas.

While of course there are ways you can make your own crackers from scratch or order luxury options online, these can be time-consuming or pricey. So instead we're opting to play with these three easy ways with allow you to elevate any shop-bought Christmas crackers to the next level. And they’re going to be some of the easiest DIY Christmas decor ideas you’ll do this festive season, we promise.

3 ways to make Christmas crackers look expensive

Giving your Christmas crackers a personal touch is a great way to both level up your Christmas table setting and show your family and friends that you care.

‘Store-bought Christmas crackers are a fun way to add a festive nod to any Christmas party. However, they can easily be elevated to add a personal touch that gives guests an extra special dimension,’ says Rachel Fearnley, lead designer at Rachel Fearnley Designs.

Here are a few easy ways to get cracking, so to speak.

A Christmas table setting with a place setting, a napkin and a cracker

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

1. Add ribbon

Decorating your Christmas tree with ribbon is the most popular trend of this festive period with many taking to social media platforms to learn and share how to make the perfect bows for a Christmas tree too. 

But the ribbon and bow trend has expanded beyond the Christmas tree as people are putting them on just about everything – stems of glassware, candleholders and napkins to name but a few. So it’s no surprise that decorating the ends of Christmas crackers with ribbons was going to be the next stop.

‘Secure the end bits of each cracker with ribbon to make attractive bows. Long pieces of ribbon can be tied a few times around the cracker adding interest and texture,’ recommends Rachel.

A Christmas table setting with a scalloped placemat and napkin and ribbon-decorated cracker

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

2. Embellish

One of the most beautiful things about amplifying your Christmas crackers is that you can get really creative with this, depending on the theme of your table setting and the overall look you’re hoping to achieve.

‘Use old Christmas cards to embellish each cracker,' suggests Rachel. 'Cut out shapes from the cards, thinking carefully about the ‘best’ bit of each image. Possibly cut the cards into bauble shapes, hearts or holly and then write the name of guests onto each card. They then become instant and very personal place settings too.'

If card additions aren't your vibe, then let your imagination run wild for what else you could attach to the body of your cracker. Perhaps add a piece of foliage, a small Christmas decoration or even a photograph. You can then attach them either with glue, ribbon or twine.

Colourful embellished Christmas crackers in a bowl

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

3. Replace gifts

The gifts and jokes inside most Christmas crackers are infamously rather bad. So why not spruce those up by swapping them for something a little more personalised?

‘If possible, carefully remove the gifts from inside the crackers and replace these with ones that have meaning for each guest,' advises Rachel. 'Maybe add a note of thanks or appreciation for the guest or a small message. The gift doesn’t have to be anything expensive; words of appreciation are free but mean so much.'

A Christmas table setting with a decorated Christmas cracker

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The way you display your crackers on the dining table will also impact how stylish and luxurious they look. So giving thought to some creative displays will do half of the work, whether it’s by matching them to your tableware or making them a centrepiece, maybe presented in a wicker basket with some winter foliage. Happy Christmas cracker decorating!

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.