When it comes to the holidays, there are lots of things that I look forward to. The seasonal desserts, the quirky traditions, and the festive decor, just to name a few. There is one thing that I dread, however, when family and friends gather: small talk. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert, or maybe it's because chatting about the weather makes me want to barf and yawn at the same time, but the idea of casual chatting-while-eating gives me anxiety. Now, the whole notion of conversation starters might make you want to groan, but what if those conversation starters were paired with a bit of mystique and excitement? Enter these Thanksgiving crackers.
Traditionally, a cracker (or bon-bon) is reserved for the Christmas season, and contained within each cracker is a bad joke, a motto, a small gift or trinket, or a paper hat. When pulled on each end, the cracker makes a loud, “POP!” sound, thanks to the cracker snap inside. The sound is a lot like when you throw a Pop Pop Snapper on the ground – a.k.a., jarringly loud. I don't know about you, but when I'm nervous, it helps me jump back to reality to get startled a little. Nothing jolts you out of your anxiety quite like getting scared and laughing it off.
These Thanksgiving crackers are just like the Christmas crackers of England, only instead of a gift or joke, these contain conversation starters. They're perfect for the dinner table to keep the conversation flowing among guests. Keep reading to see how easy it was to put them together!
- Cardboard tubes (empty toilet paper rolls work best, or paper towel rolls cut in half)
- Cracker snaps (available on Amazon – this is what makes them pop!)
- Kraft paper and scissors
- White paint and paint brush
- Strips of paper and a nice pen
The first step is to decorate the kraft paper before it's rolled. Cut pieces of paper that are long enough to roll a cardboard tube in, and twice as wide as the tube itself. Then decorate the paper using white paint and a paint brush. Set papers aside to dry.
While your decorative papers are drying, write out conversation starters on the strips of paper, using a nice pen.
Not sure what to write? Here are a few ideas for conversation starters:
- What are your travel plans for the holidays?
- Who is the funniest person at the table? Why?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
- What color is your toothbrush?
- If you could have lunch with any celebrity, who would it be?
- What is your most irrational fear?
- Do you have any resolutions for the new year?
I gleaned a lot of my conversation starters from this list over on INC.com.
After the decorative papers have completely dried, it's time to create perforation marks. These marks will make it easier for the cracker to break when it's pulled at from both sides.
Lay a cardboard tube in the center of the paper, and trace down both sides, marking where the ends of the tube line up on the paper. Fold the paper just past this line, and cut triangular shapes down the side of each fold. When unfolded, you'll have a line of diamond shapes going down each side of the paper.
To roll, place a cracking snap inside the cardboard tube. Place the tube at the end of a piece of cut paper, and tape in place. Roll the tube in the paper, and tape in place. Tie a piece of twine around one end of the paper along the perforated line. Roll up or fold one of the strips of paper with a conversation starter on it, and place it inside the tube. Tie the cracker shut on the other end.
When it's time to crack them open, have your guests grab each end of the cracker firmly, and pull!
Can you believe it's the season of Thanksgiving already? This year is flying by! Are you ready for the holidays?