The Purpose Behind Terrible Jokes in Christmas Crackers

Back in the 1800s, Christmas crackers were originally called “Bangs of Expectation”.

Regardless of how you feel about them, the terrible jokes in Christmas crackers have become a staple of the holiday season.

Even though they are often met with groans and half-hearted laughs, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them.

But did you know that these jokes might actually be intentionally bad?

The Intention Behind Bad Jokes

According to psychology professors, the reason behind intentionally terrible jokes in Christmas crackers is to shift the blame from the person telling the joke to the joke itself.

If the joke falls flat, the person telling it can simply blame the bad joke rather than taking the blame themselves. This takes the social pressure off people and makes Christmas dinner more enjoyable for everyone.

Moreover, this encourages people to continue buying Christmas crackers every year, which is beneficial for manufacturers.

Why Do People Like Bad Jokes?

The poor quality of Christmas cracker jokes is one of the reasons they have become so popular. Even though the punch line is often disappointing, these jokes remain a favorite for many during the holiday season.

People even discuss the worst jokes they’ve ever heard from a Christmas cracker. With such a low bar set, friends can feel more comfortable coming up with their own “bad” jokes.

The Origin of Christmas Cracker Jokes

The idea of including notes and mottos in Christmas crackers originated in London, England. Confectioner Tom Smith added short notes to his French-inspired almond bon-bons, and in 1860, he added a “bang” to the package.

The bon-bons were later replaced with a gift, wrapped in a log-shaped package – similar to modern-day Christmas crackers. They were originally called “Bangs of Expectation” and were later renamed “crackers.” Tom’s son Walter introduced the idea of paper hats in 1869.

The Evolution of Christmas Cracker Jokes

When Tom Smith included notes and mottos in his crackers, they were not intended to be bad. However, as other manufacturers began to copy the idea, the style of the notes became more diverse. By the early 20th Century, the notion that cracker jokes were bad started to emerge.

One British media outlet compared a poorly performed play to being worse than the jokes found in Christmas crackers – a sign of how these jokes have evolved.

Were Christmas crackers only available during the festive season?

Nowadays, it’s rare to come across Christmas crackers outside of the holiday season. However, historically, they weren’t solely made for Christmas.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, crackers were themed around major events such as royal coronations and women’s suffrage.

Today, manufacturers draw inspiration from decades of this popular gift, resulting in hundreds of themes, shapes, and styles of Christmas crackers available worldwide.


According to psychologists, Christmas cracker jokes may purposely be bad to make us feel more comfortable telling them.

The corny punchlines of Christmas cracker jokes may be the reason why we all secretly love them.

However, it’s also possible that over the years, the quality of Christmas cracker jokes has declined, with manufacturers focusing on better quality gifts, hats, and other accessories, leaving the jokes with their “bad” reputation.


1. Why do Christmas crackers always have bad jokes?

One possible reason for the bad jokes in Christmas crackers is that they are meant to be light-hearted and family-friendly. The purpose of a cracker is to add some fun and excitement to the festive meal, and it’s not necessarily meant to be a platform for hilarious comedy. Another possible reason is that the jokes are intentionally corny or cheesy, as this can be part of their charm. They are often puns or play on words that are easy to understand and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

2. Are there any good Christmas cracker jokes?

While it’s true that many Christmas cracker jokes are groan-worthy, there are certainly some that are funny and clever. For example, “Why did Santa go to school for music? So he could improve his wrapping skills!” or “What do you call a snowman with a six-pack? An abdominal snowman!” However, these types of jokes are often in the minority, as the goal of the cracker is to provide a quick and easy laugh rather than a deep belly laugh.

3. Who comes up with the jokes for Christmas crackers?

The jokes in Christmas crackers are typically written by professional joke writers or comedians, although some companies may also ask their employees or customers to submit their own jokes. The challenge for the writers is to come up with jokes that are short, simple, and suitable for all ages. It’s also important that the jokes fit on a small piece of paper that can be easily inserted into the cracker. This can be a difficult task, which is why many of the jokes end up being quite basic.

4. Can you improve the quality of Christmas cracker jokes?

If you’re tired of the same old Christmas cracker jokes, there are a few things you can do to improve their quality. You could try writing your own jokes and inserting them into the crackers, or you could purchase crackers that are specifically marketed as having better jokes. Another option is to use the cracker as a starting point for a game or activity, such as charades or Pictionary. This can add a new level of fun and creativity to the traditional Christmas cracker experience.

Rate article
Add a comment