Each Christmas, along with our holiday commissions, we look forward to constructing Christmas crackers at the bindery. We make them in small batches in the traditional way, jacketing cardboard tubes in beautiful papers and filling them with special treats customized for a particular family or event. Of course the classic ingredients are all there: friction snaps, tissue paper hats and very bad (yet artfully chosen) jokes, but we take great pleasure in choosing extra special trinkets for our crackers.
|Some of the elements for this project gathered on a work table.|
In the past, these have included vintage sterling silver charms and lockets, antique bird calls, antique collapsing travel cups, monogrammed seals and sealing wax sticks, custom address labels, and more. Today, we're putting the finishing touches on a set of six crackers for a family of bibliophiles, and so have filled each one with a Kaweco Sport fountain pen.
|The Kaweco Sport fountain pen is available in a variety of fun colors |
and nib sizes, making it a nice choice for these literary crackers.
This petite German pen was chosen for its beautiful line quality, and since it's only 4" long when closed, it's a perfect fit for the limited capacity of the cracker tube. Along with the pen we've included a packet of ink cartridges in festive colors, and a set of tiny handmade bookmarks made here in the bindery. For this particular set, the crackers are finished in a classic embossed tartan paper and tied with bright green double-faced satin ribbons--simple and festive!
|A bundle of tiny 4" tall duodecimo bookmarks made with|
Italian, French and Japanese papers here at the bindery.
|An early example of Tom Smith's Christmas Cracker packaging|
Upon his return to London, Mr. Smith combined the elements of the bon-bon with a trinket, novelty gift, tissue paper hat and a joke, and the Christmas cracker as we know it was born. The English tradition of placing a cracker at each place setting at Christmas dinner has spread cheerfully across the globe, and is a highlight of the season for countless families, my own included.
|Another example of a box of Tom Smith crackers, this one ca.1891|
We send you all our warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season, a very Merry Christmas, and hope that the new year brings health, happiness and all good things for you and your families.