Skip to main content
christmas cracker

12 days of plastic free Christmas: day 11

The festive period brings with it a huge rise in the amount of single-use plastics. Everything from decorations, to wrapping and even some of the food on your Christmas table.

Here at the University of Hull we are asking everyone to take a pledge about reducing their plastic waste at Christmas by providing simple, easy and affordable ways to help minimise plastic waste in the home. Our 12 Days of Plastic-Free Christmas will run from December 1-12 and include, fun and easy to do swaps this Christmas.

Christmas crackers (insides)

Yesterday we highlighted some of the alternatives to plastic-laden bought Christmas crackers, and begun to show you how to make your own.  With over 150 million crackers pulled over the Christmas table each year, making changes to this one small bit of our Christmas routine would have a big impact in reducing seasonal plastic waste.  Even if only a third of this year’s 150 million Christmas crackers are pulled to reveal a plastic cracker gift, that would mean only 50 million little bits of plastic would become part of our environment over the festive period. 

If you’ve decided to make your own crackers you will need something to go inside.  Let’s be honest, it is a challenge replacing the traditional plastic “gift” with a non-plastic alternative. But who really needs a tiny comb or a fake moustache, especially when you know it will still exist in the environment centuries from now.  So instead of a zero-use plastic gift, we’ve come up with some suggestions for party games that can be shrunk to cracker-size. 

  1.  Home-made hats – this is a good one for older primary-school aged children who can be set to the task of cutting out and decorating recycled newspaper hats. Paint the sheets  first and then cut the painted sheets into appropriately shaped strips.  Measure for fit, then just glue the ends together.  When the glue’s dried, fold them up so that they’ll fit inside the cracker
  2. Jokes – another good one for the kids. Grab a joke book and get them to write down their favourites on slips of paper: hand-writing practice that doesn’t feel like holiday homework. If you’re stuck for ideas, try
  3. Games – tiny bingo boards with a seasonal theme (Chringo, anyone?) and a mini pencil, origami frogs for between-courses frog racing, Christmas Consequences with a pre-printed answer sheet and mini pencil, ‘Who am I?’ with each cracker having an item from the Christmas table

Reducing your plastic over Christmas does not mean going without and trying these ideas as a family can really enhance your enjoyment of the festive period.


What's your plastic pledge?

Media Enquiries

Please contact the Press Office on