Christmas dinner is a time for family. It is a time when we all slow down and enjoy the holiday season with good food, memories, and laughter. I love Christmas dinner. We started letting the kids open their presents before dinner because then as adults we could enjoy the dinner in peace and the kids weren’t woofing down their food in hopes of tearing into those presents.
Our traditional Christmas dinner is french onion soup, followed by a salad, and the main course of prime rib and baked potato. It is awesome and I’m not even a huge meat eater. I love the dinner and what it represents, tradition! Quite a few years ago my mother started a new tradition. One my kids I’m sure will now take with them when they have their own family dinners. We didn’t do it when we were young it only started in the last decade. That tradition is English Crackers. What are English Crackers you might ask?
A Christmas Cracker is a brightly colored paper tube, twisted at both ends. There is a “banger” inside, when pulled by two people will create a loud snapping “Crack” or “Bang”.
When are they used? Crackers are very popular in England and accompany many meals over the Christmas period, but especially on Christmas Day. The large formal mid-day meal of Roast Turkey, Roast Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Parsnips and The Christmas Pudding would not be complete without each place setting at the table decorated with a Christmas Cracker!
How did this all begin? Christmas crackers were invented by Thomas Smith, a London pastry cook in 1846. It was during a visit to Paris, where he came across the bob-bon, a sugar almond wrapped in tissue paper (with a twist on either side of the centrally placed sweet).
Smith included a romantic message inside his early crackers which he marketed in Britainas “Kiss Mottos”. However the product enjoyed only limited success until Smith devised a way to make the cracker “pop” when pulled apart. Source
I love this tradition as much as the children do, each year our English Crackers come with paper hats and we are forced to wear them.
It seems that dinners are just an important part of our family bonding. When we go on vacation my husband likes to splurge and enjoy great restaurants, something we don’t do often. With 5 of us (and two boys that no longer eat from the kids menu) it can become a bit pricey. This is one reason I love getting gift cards for christmas, thank you gifts, etc. It really allows us to get out and enjoy each other (and I don’t have to cook). I can recall not too long ago a fun family dinner at Olive Garden.
This particular visit started out with a $100 gift card, so we were able to order an appetizer and 5 awesome meals. The kids, the hubby, and I had a great time joking around and remember stories from the past. For a limited time this holiday season, you can receive a $5 bonus coupon for every $25 gift card purchased at Olive Garden, Red Lobster or LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants.
Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Darden. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.. All opinions are my own. You may read more of my disclosure .