CHRISTMAS crackers have been a festive tradition that's been going strong since the 1800s.
The best Christmas crackers not only look gorgeous on the festive table, but they also have a treat inside that you'll actually want to keep.
Gone are the days when Christmas crackers used to contain a simple paper hat, joke and a thimble.
Now, Christmas crackers can be packed with all kinds of goodies, like jewellery and beauty gifts, or posh food and drink items.
Of course, you can still find Christmas crackers with fun games and magic tricks, as well as 'fill your own' versions where you can put in whatever bits and bobs you like.
You'll also find eco-friendly crackers that are more sustainable, made without glitter or plastic so they can be recycled after the big reveal.
From cheap and cheerful to luxury, we've rounded up the best Christmas crackers to buy online now.
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1. Hallmark Luxury Christmas Crackers
- (AD) Hallmark Luxury Christmas Crackers, pack of 6, £8.99 at Amazon – buy here
These Christmas crackers from Hallmark may be value for money at under a tenner, but they're anything but basic.
They come in festive red and nature-inspired prints, and contain a hat, joke, festive activity and small gift like a mini puzzle, measuring spoons and mini skittles games.
'Excellent. And good value value for money. Lovely hats!' writes one happy customer.
2. Cake Factory Make Your Own Crackers
- (AD) Make Your Own Christmas Cracker Kit, £8.99 at Amazon – buy here
Calling all creative types: instead of buying pre-made Christmas crackers, make it a fun crafty afternoon with the whole family and make your own.
These Christmas crackers include 12 hats, 12 cracker barrels and snaps, 12 jokes and 24 ribbon ties.
You can personalise each cracker by adding a special gift in each one.
'Great fun making these. Added a rolled up lotto scratch card in each cracker.
'Went down a treat at Christmas with all the family', writes a reviewer.
3. L'Occitane Festive Beauty Crackers
- L'Occitane Festive Beauty Crackers, x 4, £22 at John Lewis – buy here
Fact: Christmas crackers with fantastic gifts – and lovely, colourful, packaging, too – are vastly superior to all other kinds of Christmas cracker.
Which is why we're obsessing over L'Occitane's Festive Crackers, which include goodies like mini cherry blossom shower gel, almond hand cream and shea butter shower oil.
Is it our turn to pick another one yet?
4. Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly Crackers
- Piccadilly Crackers, £60 at Fortnum & Mason – buy here
Nothing says luxury Christmas crackers like Fortnum & Mason, and you'll find a selection of glorious, decadent designs to suit any festive table.
They're also filled with treats to delight any foodies: the Piccadilly Crackers each have a hat, joke and recipe from the Fortnum & Mason cookbook, as well as mini kitchen utensils like cookie cutters, whisks, nutmeg graters and more.
Bonus: the cracker, outer box, hats and jokes are all recyclable, and you can reuse the ribbons and trimmings next Christmas.
5. The Works Eco-Friendly Christmas Crackers
- Eco-Friendly Bauble & Star Christmas Crackers, pack of 10, £8 at The Works – buy here
Cheap, cheerful, in a lovely festive print and still recyclable, these Christmas crackers from The Works are a lovely addition to any table.
Just because they're eco-friendly doesn't mean they're boring: they have hats, mottos, snaps and novelty gifts inside.
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If you enjoyed our round-up of best Christmas crackers, read our feature on the best advent calendars for women.
Or why not get the Christmas tree sorted instantly? We've reviewed the best pop-up Christmas trees for quick-fire festive sparkle.
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