Groan-worthy jokes and flimsy paper crowns are all well and good, but if you really want to impress diners on December 25, adorn place settings with a cracker that conceals a pampering treat or two — goodies that will last long after the pudding’s been polished off.
You’ll score even more hostess points if you pluck a beauty bauble from the tree for each guest to send them on their merry way.
We’ve picked the decorations that will delight this Christmas...
Molton Brown has a selection of five crackers, each containing a trio of heavenly scented miniatures (we love the rich orange and bergamot), and you’ll find them all in the 6-Piece Signature Crackers Box, €144, plus p&p (www.moltonbrown.co.uk, last orders December 20).
Concealing three bath and shower minis each, L’Occitane’s boldly-hued Festive Crackers Collection, €26 for three, will brighten up any festive table (www.loccitane.com).
Emblazoned with a dapper harlequin design, Jo Malone Ultimate Christmas Cracker, €261, delivers a candle, cologne, body wash and body creme to each lucky recipient (www. brownthomas.com).
For beauty purists, Nuxe’s Holiday Cracker, €13.50, offers alcohol-free hand and nail cream, micellar cleansing water, a multi-tasking face body and hair botanical oil and a rich moisturising cream, giving you a healthy winter glow.(www.marksandspencer.ie)
Go for gold with Baylis and Harding’s Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Cracker Set, €14 for six, each of which contains a body lotion or body wash in the succulent scent (www.debenhams.ie).
Cowshed Christmas Cracker, €13.50. Made with bath and body essential oil blends, this set contains uplifting grumpy cow, relaxing knackered cow and invigorating wild cow to match whatever mood you find yourself in over the festive period. Parabens and alcohol free. (www.marks andspencer.ie)
Grace Cole Earl Grey & Orange Blossom Bedazzle Cracker Set, €12.99. Each of these four crackers comes with a 50ml bottle, either body wash or body cream, with the sublime winter scent. (www.mccabespharmacy.com)
BEST OF THE BAUBLES
Inside the sizeable pink metallic Melvita L’Or Bio Bauble, €14.08, plus p&p, you’ll find a stash of goodies all scented with the gorgeous L’Or Bio fragrance (www.feelunique.com).
Give the gift of a good night’s rest with the This Works Sleep Tight Bauble, €16, which contains three of the brand’s addictive sleep- inducing solutions, from selected pharmacies.
Unscrew the cap of Zoella Deck The Baubles, €7.48, plus p&p, to reveal the tempting aroma of spicy gingerbread and warm vanilla bubble bath (www.feelunique.com).
Are you forever rummaging in your handbag during winter in search of lip balm? The pretty pink Fat Face Ladies Lip Balm and Lip Gloss, €8, hides juicy gloss and a soothing Raspberry Balm, so you’ll look your kissable best during the party season (www.boots.ie).
Say hello to a decadent decoration and goodbye to split-ends, with the on-trend copper coloured GHD Advanced Split End Therapy Bauble, €20, Very, which comes with a travel-friendly tube of the hair-repairing treatment (www.millies.ie).
Designed to look like a Christmas tree decoration, Molton Brown’s limited edition bath and shower gel, €12.60, includes cinnamon and elemi oils with a base note of oudh accord. The addition of gold leaf extract gives it a perfect festive sparkle. (www.brownthomas.com)