DIY Christmas Crackers: Simple Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar

Easy DIY Christmas crackers make a great Christmas countdown/Advent calendar

You might have noticed that it’s already halfway through December, and you might be thinking that halfway through December is kind of a funny time to post Advent calendar ideas. See, here’s what happened: MONTHS ago, I had this brilliant idea to make 24 Christmas crackers and have the kids do one each day for their Advent calendar this year. And then I sat back and relaxed, because I already had a great idea for an Advent calendar SO early! Go me! I even started saving toilet paper tubes early enough that we had plenty stockpiled.

Then, a few days before December, I thought, “I guess I really need to get on that,” and realized that I would need to order cracker snaps to make my dream a reality. No problem! I said to myself. I will just hop right on to Amazon and Prime will magic me some snaps right quick. Nope. They sell snaps (mostly as part of a package with other cracker making necessities), but not with Prime shipping. And no luck at Michaels, either.

(ETA: here are the snaps I bought on Amazon. Affiliate link)

I ended up ordering the snaps from Olde English Crackers, and, by the time they made it to me, it was well into December. Sorry, kids!

So we finally got the crackers made the other night, so that the kids can count down….the last few days before Christmas. But, hey, maybe you want to pin this for NEXT year! You still have SO MUCH TIME to order your snaps!

In other Christmas cracker making not going according to plan news, I was hoping to use my endless supply of vintage wrapping paper for these, but it turned out to be kind of too thick and….old and brittle. When we tried to twist the ends, it was ripping a lot. So we used regular old wrapping paper. Had I realized this would happen, I would have bought some super special paper, like maybe the incredibly adorable penguin wrapping paper I saw at TJ Maxx the other night.

I read several tutorials for making these, but I wasn’t thrilled with any of them, and we did things a little differently, so I’m going to tell you how we did it. Also, can I just say how much easier it is to take pictures for craft tutorials when Dave is making the craft, and I don’t have to try to make the thing and photograph my own hands doing it at the same time? Note to future crafty self.

Here’s what you need:


*toilet paper tubes (or paper towel tubes cut to size). Or just buy them on Amazon (affililate link)

*wrapping paper: cut into rectangles about three times as long as your toilet paper rolls and wide enough to wrap around them a couple of times


*ribbon or twine

*stuff to fill the crackers: we used candy and printed out some cheesy Christmas jokes for ours. Paper hats are traditional, but no one needs twenty four eleven paper hats

Step one: Get your toilet paper tube and wrapping paper all set up. Slide a snap through the roll and tape it to the paper on each side. Then tape (or glue, if you prefer) one edge of the paper to the tube:

taping snap to toilet paper tube

Step two: roll the tube up in the paper and tape or glue to seal it:

crackers04s taping wrapping paper

Step three: Gently twist the paper on one end of the tube and then tie it with your ribbon to hold it shut:

twisting the paper tying the end

Step four: Fill the tube with whatever you’d like:

bad joke for christmas cracker

Step five: Twist and tie the other end, fluff the ends back up a little for prettiness, and you’re all done!

fluffing the ends finished cracker Christmas cracker diy

I like how versatile these are for an Advent calendar. They’d be perfect for doing an activity based calendar (as we’ve done the last few years, but I wasn’t feeling up for so much planning this year). Or you could do little toys instead of candy. Or whatever! Endless possibilities!

I thought about stringing these up and hanging them on the wall, but in the end I opted for just putting them in a bowl (unnumbered) and having the kids do one each day (I had a bigger bowl in mind, back when there were going to be 24 of them):

crackers12s crackers13s

Candy, silly jokes, AND a fun popping sound! What more could a kid ask for?


Tutorial to make these easy DIY Christmas crackers--great for a Christmas countdown or Advent Calendar




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