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Consumer Panel - Christmas Crackers

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Consumer Panel

1. Victoria Doyle

2. Wally Sheridan

3. Patrice Costello

4. Jayne Homan

Each panelist has been asked to give their marks out of five taking the following points
into consideration:

. Appearance
. Present / Gift
. Hat
. Joke quality
. Bang factor - snap
. Presentation - what was the packaging like? Would you buy it?
. Value for money
. Marks out of 5


. Disney - Princess - 6 for €8 (childrens')
. Crackers for 10 €4.50 (adult)

Marks and Spencer:-
. Snowman Crackers - €7 - (childrens')

. Luxury crackers Red & Gold 6 for €7.99 - half price (adult)

Prices vary depending on the shop, but these were bought in Dunnes, Marks and Spencer's and Tesco.

The Results are: (All out of 20)

1st Place - 18 points - Tesco Luxury crackers
2nd Place - 16 points - Dunnes Crackers
3rd Place - 14 points - M&S Snowman Crackers
3rd Place - 14 points - Disney Princess crackers




1. Appearance: - Lovely rich colours, the ribbons were gorgeous and the glitter on them a lovely touch
2. Present / Gift: - Great silver presents, I got a charade dice and we had great craic playing charades
3. Hat: - Great quality, thick cardboard hat that didn't rip straight away
4. Joke quality: - Joke and a trivia question that didn't give the answer so none the wiser!!
5. Bang factor: - Loud bang noise and easy to pull apart
6. Presentation: - Yes I would definitely buy this one, they look really expensive and classy
7. Value for money: - 6 for €7.99 is OK but if you were cooking for more than 6 it would get expensive
8. Mark:- 5/5


. Couldn't complain
. Very expensive at €16,
. Contents very good, very good hat, very strong compared to the rest
. Good silver coated pen, works very well
. Not a good bang!
. Very good
. 5/5


. Another great cracker! Very festive packaging. Great gifts e.g. mini screwdriver sets.
. Would buy these as unsuitable for children under 14 - aimed at the adult market.
. Very expensive but that's because of the quality of the gift and hat.
. Good quality!
. 3/5


. Very impressed with it
. Good colourful packaging, very festive, very appealing, stood out
. Very good value, gifts (little dices, puzzles etc.) good for all the family
. Not suitable for u-14, all others not for Under-3 year olds
. Good trivia, charades, jokes etc all one piece of paper
. Hat was a good strong quality, didn't rip
. Good bang factor, not as good as others, 3 didn't bang at all
. Excellent value for money
. 5/5

Marks and Spencers:- €7 childrens


. Appearance - Lovely snowmen and deep red colour loved the look of them
. Present / Gift - nice presents practical and fun as well
. Hat - Flimsy normal cracker hat
. Joke quality - Rubbish!
. Bang factor - Loud bang and cracked on first pull
. Presentation - Packaging fun to look at, yes I would buy them if I had children!!
. Value for money - Expensive for kids crackers
. 4/5


. Way over priced at €7
. Packaging very mean looking
. Poor gifts, plastic toy that broke
. Paper hat, same as all the rest apart from the Tesco one
. Bang not too bad, best part of it
. 2/5


. The kids got a great kick outta these crackers. Aimed at children, they definitely ticked all the boxes. Great for boys and girls alike.
. The gifts kept them entertained for a minute or two. Great gifts e.g. Little paint sets or dinosaur figure to make.
. Jokes pretty original e.g. How do snowmen travel? On icecycles!
. Not a very loud bang which would suit younger children.
. Very festive and cute packaging.
. Quite expensive so 4/5


. Brilliant appearance, very different look for a cracker (snowman)
. Very disappointed in the toys, little plastic shapes (hang them, draw around them)
. Jokes were fun and festive for children
. Hat quality was good, looked like a crown
. Not good value for money, paying for the packaging
. 4/5

Princess 6 for €8


. Appearance: - Great looking if your a fan of Disney princess but singled out for girls only at least the M&S were unisex
. Present / Gift: - Nice little trinkets of all the Disney ladies got a rubber and a frame!!
. Hat: - Same old same old
. Joke quality: - All about Disney girls very informative for someone that hasn't a clue!
. Bang factor: - Easy to pull apart and loud enough bang
. Presentation: - Looked grand nothing to appealing
. Value for money: - Great value for money 10 crackers so all the family would definitely get to pull a few
. 3/5


. Very good for kids between 3 - 6years old
. Safe toys, no sharp pointy edges, little watches and games
. Very good for kids
. Hat normal like others
. Very good value
. 5/5


. Wow, the children loved these! They were so cute and girlie - would be lovely for a birthday party as they weren't particularly Christmassy!
. They had lovely little gifts e.g. pink watch, yo-yo etc.
. Loved the Disney princess packaging.
. 3/5


. Very appealing packaging, suitable for 8year old girls or younger
. Sticker of a princess, no toy in some
. Little plastic picture frame in some
. Hats were too big for the children, even for Patrice
. Jokes - questions on the princess not jokes
. Very bad value for money
. 3/5

Dunnes (Adult) 10 for €4.50


. Appearance - Boring not a bit luxurious looking like the Tesco ones
. Present / Gift - Presents that you'd play with at the table then bin them! Mam got a water pistols so that was a bit of craic.
. Hat - Same flimsy hat
. Joke quality - Good jokes got a belly laugh out of a few of them
. Bang factor - Quiet bang
. Presentation - Looked grand nothing to appealing
. Value for money - Great value for money 10 crackers so all the family would definitely get to pull a few
. 3/5


. Good packaging
. Good bag
. Hat the same
. Good presents, little bits of wire - good challenges for adults and kids
. Great value for money - would go for that one over the others
. Something better about this one.
. 5/5


. These crackers are great value for money.
. I loved the cream and gold wrapping. Very attractive on the xmas table.
. The hats were a bit flimsy but colourful.
. The jokes were cheesy but funny eg. Who writes the most letters? A fisherman, he always drops a line!
. Good loud bang when pulled.
. Would definitely buy these especially as they match the decor of my kitchen.
. Great value for money
. 5/5


. Not very appealing packaging, look cheap - black box, no ribbon, cream and gold crackers
. Gifts - typical like little metal puzzles, a plastic water pistol that worked, great fun with it
. Hats very poor quality
. Jokes were good, simple, good interaction, good Christmas flavour
. Good bang! Smell of Christmas!
. Good value for 4.50, 10 crackers
. 3/5

Christmas crackers or bon-bons are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, other Commonwealth countries, Ireland and countries of the former Soviet Union (where it is called "????????"). A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).

In one version of the tradition the person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. In another each person will have their own cracker and will keep its contents regardless of whose end they were in. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper. Crackers are often pulled before or after Christmas dinners or at parties.

Assembled crackers are typically sold in boxes of three to twelve. These typically have different designs usually with red, green and gold colours. Making crackers from scratch using the tubes from used toilet rolls and tissue paper is a common Commonwealth activity for children.


Crackers were invented by Thomas J. Smith of London in 1847.[1][2] He created the crackers as a development of his bon-bon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper (the origins of the traditional sweet-wrapper). As sales of bon-bons slumped, Smith began to come up with new promotional ideas. His first tactic was to insert mottos into the wrappers of the sweets (cf. fortune cookies), but this had only limited success.

He was inspired to add the "crackle" element when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on the fire. The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism, and the sweet itself was eventually dropped, to be replaced by a small gift. The new product was initially marketed as the Cosaque (i.e., Cossack), but the onomatopoeic "cracker" soon became the commonly used name, as rival varieties were introduced to the market. The other elements of the modern cracker, the gifts, paper hats and varied designs, were all introduced by Tom Smith's son, Walter Smith, to differentiate his product from the many copycat cracker manufacturers which had suddenly sprung up.
In popular culture

This article may contain original research or unverified claims. Please improve the article by adding references. See the talk page for details. (October 2008)
In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, wizards have crackers similar to those used by Muggles but with a much more powerful bang (described as being like a cannon blast) and more interesting prizes such as a captain's hat, a 'Grow-Your-Own-Warts Kit', live white mice, non-exploding balloons and a magical chess set.

In The US version of The Office, in the second season and onwards the character Dwight can be seen to be in possession of several Christmas crackers in and around his desk, although they are never mentioned or displayed for much longer than a few seconds. Information about the origins of this possible inside joke is scarce, some saying it is an intentional reference to a real life incident Rainn Wilson had with crackers during the filming of the first season.

The MMORPG RuneScape released "Christmas Crackers" as a drop during the 2001 Christmas season. It required two players to open. One player would get a coloured party hat, the other would get a random item. They were "discontinued" after the end of the year, but the items remained in-game for players to keep. As time passed, many people dropped, lost, or sold theirs, and it quickly became a valuable item. They are now one of the rarest, and the single most expensive item in the game.
In Graham Greene's novel, Doctor Fischer of Geneva, one of the eponymous character's tests is centered around Christmas crackers.


. Dunnes
. Marks and Spencer
. Tesco