And before. anyone reminds me that the real twelve days start on Christmas day, I know. I just wanted to create a little excitement as we build up to the day. Afteward we're stuffed with Christmas pudding and turkey and have no energy.
So each day I'm featuring some interesting Christmas fact or tradition, especially the ones featured in my book, The Twelve Days of Christmas.
And today it's YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRACKERS.
When I first arrived in the United States I went into a drug store and asked where they kept the crackers. The clerk took me to a shelf of Saltines, Ritz etc.
"No," I said. "I mean the sort of crackers that explode and a hat comes out of them."
And in case you still haven't encountered them yet--they are tubes of paper with a small explosive inside. When you pull them they make a loud snapping sound and out tumble a paper hat, usually in the shape of a crown, a small toy or other gift, riddles and trivia. They are completely useless and way too expensive but my family wouldn't have Christmas without them. For years I had to bring them back from UK in my suitcase (what would the TSA explosive sniffing dogs do with them, I wonder?)
So there is one at every place at Christmas dinner. We pull them, play with the toys, read the riddles and wear the paper hats. Ridiculous but fun. And as to the origin--I really don't know. When I was a child we had all kinds of indoor fireworks, sparklers etc at Christmas. I suspect this was part of that tradition of making fire and noise at the pre-Christian holiday.
And finishing with a spot of good news: Masked Ball at Broxley Manor, that little e-story prequel I wrote for Lady Georgie, has been named on the best e-books of the year by Barnes and Noble. Right next to Jack Reacher! (which is never a bad place to be!)