The French version of a cracker

My childhood Christmas dinners involved roast turkey and hot plum pudding (sometimes on 40+°C days) in Australia, and they always started with the Christmas cracker. You know, those bits of paper or foil with a ‘party’ crown (a thin paper hat that often tore before you stuck it on your head) and a ‘toy’ (eg: a plastic ring in almost orange-coloured gold; a measuring tape; a leapfrog if you were lucky) inside.

Who doesn’t have a photo of their family all looking bored and embarrassed, eating their roast dinner with a paper crown on their head? Actually, French families don’t. Christmas crackers don’t seem to exist in France, but they do have Christmas bonbons. Yes, chocolate: so much better than a paper hat! But just when you’re thinking it’s a win-win situation, think again. The bonbons share something in common with the crackers: they contain a dodgy joke that just isn’t funny. Safe for all the family, here are just two of the typically corny jokes:

  snail joke in French Christmas bonbon. Copyright LeFrancoPhoney blog. French pear joke in Christmas chocolate in France. Copyright LeFrancoPhoney blog.
 It says: “A snail waits for his friend, a slug. The slug arrives late and the snail says, ‘And also, you haven’t brought your backpack’.” Get it? The snail thinks the…oh, you must get it.It says: “What is the worst thing a gymnast can do? Faint while doing a hand stand” (it’s a play on words, as ‘tomber dans les pommes’ literally means ‘fall in the apples’ (faint) and ‘faire/faisant le poirier’ literally means ‘act like a pear tree’ (hand stand). Get it? Apples and pears…
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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “The French version of a cracker
  1. Geoff says:

    This year’s crackers were exceptional. We had an even number of people (eight) and only four different jokes, each appearing twice. I’m almost tempted to write and complain to the manufacturer..

    Worse; the night before I’d commented to my brother’s fiancée something like: The best cracker joke is one like “How do you get two whales in a Mini?” Because there are two acceptable answers, so even if there is a smart alec that announces the answer, you still have an a^nswer in reserve. The answers a) one in the front, and one in the back. or b) down the M4 and across the Severn bridge.

    The “high quality” crackers opted for answer b). Too much of a coincidence for my liking…

  2. Christophe says:

    I have seen far worse crackers in papillottes! 🙂

  3. April says:

    Ooh, is ‘papillottes’ the name of the Christmas bonbons? They are so tasty.

  4. Christophe says:

    Yes! OOpps, only one “T”: papillotes.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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