Monday, 3 January 2011

How can you get your name in lights all over the world?

Answer: Change your name to Emergency Exit!

Happy new year, one and all. I thought I’d start the new year with a joke because laughter really is the best medicine. Unless you’re Spiderman, in which case these jokes make you groan and shake your head.

Christmas Crackers are a British tradition. They are a wrapped tube filled with a paper hat, a joke and as our friend Matazone Haggis would say, “a cheap plastic toy with limited functionality.” But the best bit is they contain a strip of paper called a snap that contains a small amount of gunpowder. When you pull the cracker it goes BANG! And emits a slightly woodsy burned smell like a bonfire. That part is the best. Or not if you are Spiderman. He hates the BANG! It makes him wince. You cannot sell snaps (and I assume crackers as well) to minors as they are considered a firework. It has very strict instructions to use only one snapper cracker unless you are Mr Bean. He uses a bunch and blows up his house in a funny cartoonishly violent way.

For years I tried to buy them in the shops. They range from very cheap to very expensive. But they all contain plastic of some sort. I once spent £10 on Fair Trade ones from Oxfam that came with wooden toys inside instead of plastic but all the external wrapping bits and the hats were that weird foil that’s not foil and can’t be recycled. The whole pile of non-recyclable debris after Christmas made me sad. So what is a Spidergrrl to do who wants the joy but also the ability to recycle? Make them herself!

You can buy a packet of snaps here at craft stores. Everything else is stuff from around your home.

You need:
A packet of snaps (if you can’t find some you’ll just have to shout BANG!)
Toilet rolls
Coloured newspaper--like the funny pages
Sticky tape--this works even better if you have a groovy tape dispenser like I got for my 40th birthday. Thank you Spiderman!
Some funny jokes and scrap paper to write them on

You will notice that Spiderman has helpfully relabelled my packet of snaps. It used to say Cracker Snaps but he has changed it to Snacker Craps. Thank you, sweetheart.

Make you some paper hats. If you can fold them like a boat the way Curious George does in that book, then do so. I tend to cut more of a crown shape and then tape the ends together.

Find you some jokes and write them on scrap paper. If you google Christmas cracker jokes you will get literally hundreds of jokes to make you laugh until you cry (or make you shake your head and think about having your wife committed if you are Spiderman) Here are some to give you an example:

What did the dolphin say to the penguin?
You did that on porpoise!

How did the Vikings send secret messages?
By Norse code!

What did one snowman say to the other?
Can you smell carrots?

Find some good quality jokes and write them down. You may have been wanting to ask me, but hadn’t wanted to be rude and point out the obvious. Um, Spidergrrl you do realise Christmas is over now, don’t you? Why are you making these NOW? Well, I’m glad you asked. On New year’s day I like to do a little something of all the things I hope to do over the upcoming year. This includes paper crafts, laughter and being the Tigger to my beloved Eeyore. Besides if I make them a year in advance I can’t recall what jokes I put in and they are all the funnier when we open them up next Christmas. So there.

Finally, tape one snap into each tube then fill with a hat and a joke then wrap up with coloured newspaper. I use the covers of the G2 because Spiderman gets the Guardian at work. The covers are brightly coloured and have unusual designs. Like the black and white one with Medieval skeletons (it was an article about history but I like the look of the skeletons) or the yellow one with the atom jumping around (it was an article on science) There was also one that had a stack of books and another with a tree in winter. The last one was a lovely silhouette that looked like an illustration by  Jan Pienkowski.

The best bit is after you open and laugh at the joke and wear the paper hat (or not in Spiderman’s case. He will wear the hat but only under duress) you can recycle the whole lot! Or not as it were. The hats we had last year were still in good shape so I saved them back to reuse again until they fall apart. Hoorah! And happy new year!

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