Shay called me last night to ask me what Christmas Crackers were and inform me that people might think we were freaks for wearing weird paper hats at Christmas dinner unless I provided further clarification. :)
First of all - I figured that everyone knew, but in case you don't - I'm Canadian . GASP! hahaha
My entire extended family lives in Canada and I was born there and lived there until I was about 8 (when my Dad got transferred to NC). I've lived in the U.S. since then (about 19 years) and am a Permanent Resident (LEGAL alien). hahaha
I never really thought about the fact that no one I know does Christmas Crackers or that you can only buy them here at World Market, but after some Wikipedia research last night I realized that the reason no one here has heard of them is because they're British. Anyway, here's a picture of Christmas Crackers... And here's some info from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_cracker)
"Christmas crackers or bon-bons are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries such as Australia, CANADA, New Zealand, and South Africa. 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 (similar to a cap gun).
In one version of the tradition the person with the larger portion of the 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 colored 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 sole in boxes of three to twelve. These typically have different designs usually with red, green and gold colors."
So there you have it, my family isn't strange - just from a Commonwealth country :)
I hope you enjoyed your Canadian cultural lesson for today!