word 7 – tradition

do people anywhere else in the world have christmas crackers or are they just a peculiarly British tradition ?
i thought i’d best take you through the whole cracker concept. If you know all this already, just bear with me.
the ‘cracker’, seen here, usually comes pre-positioned on the Christmas table, allocated on a strictly one per person basis:
at the appropriate point in the meal, pulling commences. Depending on your local tradition this may happen at the start, end or middle of your meal and may involve a single unilateral pull, or multiple bilateral arrangements.
the unilateral single pull requires arms to be crossed thus pulling to the right with your left hand and vice-versa:
bilateral pulling is more adhoc. some fancy people can run a couple of bilateral pulls simultaneously:
pulling the cracker often requires some force. The cracker itself contains a small incendury device which makes a small ‘bang’ when pulled.
some people choose to grab the inner ‘tongue’ of the cracker which connects to the cracker bang to ensure a satisfactory explosion. Others simply grab a fist full and pull like mad things:
After the explosion comes the exploration. participants then search all over the table for the contents of their cracker which will usually consist of four things:
1) a paper hat
2) a naff toy
3) a very bad joke written on a piece of paper
4) a piece of thin cardboard used to hold the cracker shape.
here are my jokes and my present. you can read the joke for yourself (don’t laugh too much). the present was a ‘poppin eye ball’:
It’s obligatory to wear your hat throughout the rest of the meal:
and for the rest of the afternoon in my case: