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Christmas crackers

To convey the anticipation of Christmas, both now and at the first Christmas.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To convey the anticipation of Christmas, both now and at the first Christmas.

Preparation and materials

You will need two or four traditional Christmas crackers and one homemade cracker with a picture of the baby Jesus in the stable inside.


  1. Ask the question: What are you most looking forward to this Christmas? Either take responses from the front, or ask the children to talk about it in pairs. Draw out these suggestions: presents, parties, a special time with your family, the food, singing Christmas songs, the magic of it all.

    Most of us look forward to something at Christmas. The anticipation (looking forward to it) is sometimes as much fun as Christmas itself!
  2. Ask for either two or four volunteers to come to the front and give each child a Christmas cracker.

    How do they feel to have a cracker in their hand? Try to draw out feelings of excitement and anticipation. How much do they want to pull the cracker and see what’s inside? What do they expect to find inside?

    Let them pull the crackers and enjoy the contents! Ask each child to describe what they think of what’s inside.

    Crackers are really exciting as the contents are a surprise. Sometimes we are pleased with the gift inside, sometimes disappointed.
  3. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the Jews were excited about the coming of a Saviour. They were being badly treated in captivity and were desperate to be set free. A man called Isaiah told them about a coming Saviour. He said:

    For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
    Authority rests upon his shoulders;
    And he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    His authority shall grow continually,
    And there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    (Isaiah 9.6–7, NRSV)

    Wow! A child, Mighty God! A son, Prince of Peace! Endless peace! No more suffering, freedom from exploitation!

    They must have been so excited. The anticipation must have been too much to bear! A million times more exciting than holding a cracker in your hand!
  4. Take out the homemade cracker. Pull the cracker and show the picture of the baby Jesus. Say that this was the fulfilment of the prophecy Isaiah made many years before.

    What a surprise! A baby born in a stable? A child with poor young parents? What a let-down! A King? No way! A Saviour? You must be joking!

    There were lots of different reactions to Jesus’ birth. Some came to worship him. King Herod tried to kill him. Many Jews were disappointed and could not believe that he was the one promised long ago.

Time for reflection


There are still lots of different reactions to Christmas today.

Some people love it; others hate it.

Some people look forward to it; others worry about it.

Some people have too much to do; others sit at home alone.

Some people celebrate the birth of Jesus; others do not.


Father God,

Thank you for Christmas, for all that we are looking forward to this year.

Help us to remember those who are not looking forward to Christmas.

Help us to be there for them.



Any suitable Christmas song.

Publication date: December 2008   (Vol.10 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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