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A Christmas Cracker

The story of Christmas

by Susan MacLean (revised, originally published in 2009)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect on the Christmas story by using an everyday Christmas object.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a Christmas cracker and two children to pull it during the assembly.


  1. Ask the children what things make them think of Christmas.

    Show the children your Christmas cracker.

    Tell the children that you are going to use the cracker to tell them about the very first Christmas.

  2. Point out that when we pull a cracker, we don’t know what is inside it.

    Ask the children what surprises they are hoping for this Christmas.

    Explain that Mary and Joseph got a big surprise, because God chose them for a very special job. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that, although she was not yet married to Joseph, she was going to have a baby – and not just any baby. She had been chosen to carry God’s own son, Jesus, and she and Joseph were to bring him up. That was a big surprise for them.

  3. Invite two children to pull the cracker.

    Point out that the loud bang of a cracker can give us a fright when we hear it. Ask the children what things scare them.

    Explain that the shepherds in the fields were frightened – why? When they saw angels, they were terrified, but the angels told them not to be afraid because they had good news to tell them. The good news was that Jesus had been born.

  4. Point out that there is usually a joke or a riddle inside a cracker.

    Read out the joke or riddle that was inside the cracker.

    Explain that the prophets in the Old Testament talked about what would happen when Jesus was going to be born. They described where he would be born and said lots of other things about his life. Not everyone understood them, and not everyone could see that Jesus was the answer to all of these things that had been foretold. However, when we look at everything the prophets had said hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Christians believe that it is clear that these things came true in Jesus. He was like the answer to a riddle.

  5. Take the hat out of the cracker and put it on.

    Comment on the hats colour and style. Ask the children if they would wear this hat outside to keep their head warm.

    Ask what the hat is supposed to be. (The answer is a crown.)

    Ask who usually wears a crown. (The answer is a king or queen.)

    Explain that in the Bible, it says that Jesus is a king, but he is not like the king or queen of a country. Instead, it says that he is the king of kings, which means that he is the king of everyone, including all of the kings in the world. Christians believe that Jesus is the king of the universe.

  6. Tell the children that there is one thing left in the cracker: a gift.

    Take the gift out of the cracker and show everyone what it is.

    Explain that the wise men brought gifts to Jesus. Ask the children if they know what the gifts were. (The answer is gold, frankincense and myrrh.)

    Explain that we love to get gifts at Christmastime, but without Jesus, there wouldn’t be Christmas at all. At Christmastime, we remember that this gift, Jesus, came to earth for each one of us.

Time for reflection

When we enjoy all the parties, food and presents at Christmastime, let’s not forget about that very first Christmas when we remember that Jesus was born.

Thank you, God, for all the good things that we enjoy at Christmastime.
Help us to reflect on that very first Christmas.
Help us to remember that without Jesus, there wouldn’t be Christmas.
Please help us to focus on the things that really matter this Christmas.
Help us to remember about Jesus’ birth.


Any favourite carol.

Publication date: December 2018   (Vol.20 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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