Make your own Bon Bons

We have been making our own bon bons (aka Christmas crackers) for as long as I can remember.  It has become a firmly planted tradition which I have carried on with my children.  We put different things in every year.  You can have a squiz at what we did last year and the year before.  This year I made bon bons for a few different Christmas functions.  I’ve put different things in each lot to suit the occasion.

BON BONS # 1: For “Christmas with Dad” there were only 12 of us so it was easy enough to just purchase an individual gift to pop inside to suit each person.  That way you don’t need to find gifts that suit all ages and genders.  Mini lego figurine packs for the 5 kids, lip balm for the 3 ladies and fake moustaches & eyebrows for the 4 men along with a lindt choc ball, a conversation starter and a snap.  Of course, I had to name each one then which quite frankly is probably not worth the bother.


BON BONS #2: For “Christmas with Mum” I found a pack of plasticine at the supermarket for $1 that happened to have 12 sticks of different coloured plasticine.  I popped one in each, along with a tissue paper hat*, a hershey’s kiss**, a bad Christmas joke and a snap.



The kids (and adults) had lots of fun creating plasticine masterpieces at the table.

BON BONS #3: Then for Christmas Day, when we’ll be having a lovely traditional lunch with Mr FGB’s family, I purchased a mixture of small gifts (that I hope will suit all ages, but if not they can always swap!) along with the usual chocolate, hat and snap and some conversation starters.


This year I’m reusing some conversation starters that I used last year.  Sometimes you need a bit of help to get some life into the party and other times it’s just a great time to promote reflection and unity around the table. 

BON BON CONVERSATION STARTERS:
It’s not Christmas unless…..
In 10 years’ time, at Christmas…………………
The smell that reminds me of Christmas is………….
Christmas shopping is………….
Christmas carols make me……..
At Christmas I………….
My favourite Christmas tradition is………
The strangest Christmas gift I have ever received was………..
The best Christmas gift I have ever received was………
Since last Christmas I have………
My earliest Christmas memory……..
The day after Christmas I………….
The best place to buy Christmas gifts is…………….
My Mum always told me………..
In the coming year, I’d love to………
Christmas is………
Would you like a full tutorial (for next year) on how to make your own bonbons FGB style?  Or do you think it is self explanatory enough?  

Do you make your own bonbons?  What do you put inside?

*’coz there had been complaints the previous week that they had not been included! – apparently it’s “just not Christmas without them” ;)  xo

**leftover from the recent princess party where we gave chocolate kisses and lolly frogs for the party favours.  Speaking of Hershey’s kisses.  If you like to go the extra mile – I did see some Christmas printables that you can stick on the bottom of a hershey’s kiss… over here.

THIS YEAR’S CRACKERS

Homemade bon bons, or Christmas Crackers as they are known in other parts of the world, have been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.  I have enjoyed taking on the role of bon bon making for quite a few years now.  You can see last year’s bon bons here.

These bon bons were for a Christmas party that I attended last weekend.  Such a beautiful setting.  19 of us gathered outside on a long trestle table, covered in a white linen tablecloth, with branches of holly and red baubles, the ‘good glasses’ and the ‘good silver’, fabulous food and company…I digress…

I wrapped these bon bons with old sheet music for something different and this was what was inside…


Each year there is a snap and a hat* inside the bon bon, but everything else varies each year.  It depends on the group who I make them for really.


Instead of jokes this year, I used ‘conversation starters’ and after we’d opened the bon bons we went around the table completing sentences such as “my earliest Christmas memory is…”, “Christmas Carols make me…”, “My favourite Christmas tradition is…”, etc.


Along with some red & green m&m’s and some Christmas sequins (leftover from last year) I made up little ‘alfalfa sprout kits’ with some tulle, some alfalfa seeds, a rubber brand and printed instructions from here (with slight variation).  

There are thousands of things you could put inside, but to match the sheet music, these homemade paper decos would have gone well inside. Some other creative ideas, a little outside the box, that would work are these homemade ‘mini pick up sticks‘, fabric covered hairties or magnets, marshmallows & toothpick activity, Christmas themed activity sheet for people to complete then give out prize for winner, small puzzle pieces for everyone to combine & complete … 

Do you make your own bon bons?  What do you put inside?

* I make the hat using tissue paper, but you could use Christmas wrapping paper for something different.  

DIY MINI MIKADO


Mikado, or pick-up sticks as it is also known, is a game that we played often as children. The game got its name from the highest scoring (blue) stick “Mikado“. Mikado is the name given to the Emperor of Japan. We played Giant Mikado at Goose’s Japanese birthday party last week and as a memento to send home, we made each child their own set of Mini Mikado. I think they will also work very well in our bon-bons/crackers next Christmas too!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN:

I personally think the game works better if you can find double pointed, round toothpicks, but you could also make the regular size in the same way by using bamboo skewers. My clever Mum made these ones for me and this is what she did:

1. Color 4 bowls of water, each with different colored food dyes – Mum used Edicol powder to get a strong color.
2. Add the right number of toothpicks into each bowl.
3. Take the toothpicks out after a couple of minutes or until color is right. You can take them out by using a pair of metal tongs.
4. Leave them to dry on some newspaper or paper towel.

I searched all over the net and there doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rule for which colors to use or how many of each color or even the score each stick is worth, so I just made up my own values and colors. Feel free to print these rules up and use for yourself.*

HOW TO PLAY “MIKADO”

1 Blue Mikado stick – 10 points

8 yellow sticks – 5 points

8 green sticks – 3 points

8 pink sticks – 1 point

Any number of people may play. Everyone sits in a circle.

One person holds the sticks upright touching the ground, then opens their hand to let the sticks fall. The sticks should all lay on top/under each other in a disarrayed fashion (the messier the better). Each person takes a turn at removing one stick from the pile, while trying not to move any of the other sticks.

If the player moves any other stick apart from the one they are trying to remove, it is the next person’s turn. But if he/she moves the stick without moving any others, they have another turn and keep going until they move a stick and then it is the next person’s turn.

When the Mikado stick has been lifted, it may be used for the removal of further sticks.

When all the sticks are gone, everyone counts the value of their sticks. The person with the highest score wins!



Up to your own discretion obviously, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that it’s probably a game for those 5yrs and up. Wouldn’t want anyone poking their eyes out!


* If anyone is tech savvy and could teach me how to attach this as a downloadable pdf document, I’d be ecstatic if you could explain it to me!

DIY BONBONS {AKA Christmas crackers}


Last night was the last of my weekly craft nights for the month of December. It has been such a good way to ensure that I fitted in the crafty things that I wanted to fit in this year. Chatting with friends doing their own crafty things with some sweet treats and a glass of wine is something I really enjoy.

Last night Goose joined us (school holidays & all) and we made bon-bons (or christmas crackers as they are known in other parts of the world). We have making our own bon-bons for Christmas dinner for as long as I can remember.

We save toilet rolls for the month prior and put different goodies inside every year. In previous years we’ve included bible verses, stickers, novelty gifts, activity sheet, scratchies, bubbles, stickers, the possibilities are endless…

You always need a ‘snap’ which they sell at Riot Art or Spotlight). This year we went for some christmas glitter sprinkly things (that I picked up at the Reject Shop for $2), a corny Christmas ‘Dad’ joke, a tissue paper crown, a gourmet chocolate and a little activity.

The little activity this year is a bundle of 10 toothpicks and 10 mini marshmallows (all those pink ones that we didn’t use here) to be used to construct a mini tower at the table. The tallest tower, that stays up, gets a prize.

The above photo was taken a few years ago when we did the same activity with my family. We are having Christmas lunch with my husband’s family this year.

This activity idea was completely stolen from the talented Amber Carvan from Kids Craft Weekly. She has many fun and creative Christmas cracker ideas, ideal for making with preschoolers (or older) children, in her printable PDF ‘Christmas Craft’. For only $6US I highly recommend purchasing, particularly as you receive it straight away!

Here is a tutorial that she wrote on how to make her ‘crazy hat crackers’ – I think we’ll try that next year.

If you use fake cherries to decorate your bon-bons, just remember to tell young children that they are not lollypops before they take a bite into them…

Do you make bonbons? What do you put inside?

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