Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Day at the Museum, part 1 (Crackers)

One of the wonderful things that came about as part of my being on the Associates Board for the MSU Museum was rediscovering this treasure in my own community.

So, in the first of two holiday posts, I'll share with you part of their Christmas collection. This is part of exhibits in venues throughout the community. If you live near Lansing, it's certainly worth a visit!

Today we're looking at Christmas Crackers. A huge tradition in the UK, holiday crackers or poppers aren't used as often in the States.

But they're great fun. We certainly enjoyed doing this in the past, though it didn't become our tradition.

And I know many artists create their own, having seen lovely versions in Somerset publications. Often the base is a cardboard tube (perhaps from paper towel or a wrapping roll), stuffed with candies, treats and the paper crown and wrapped in colorful paper.

I love this packaging -- the boxes are simply enchanting.

And the crackers themselves -- delightful!

This shot shows crackers that were packaged in a "Big Ben" box about three feet high. Unfortunately, the glare from the glass on the full length shot made it unusable.

We don't do "Guy Fawkes" day here in the States. I'm curious if any Marmelade Gypsy readers are familiar with this holiday.

This is the description at the museum -- I wonder if it is celebrated today -- and in November, as this description leads me to believe?

If you're in the neighborhood, here are spots you can see the Christmas exhibits!

We'll talk Christmas tea and tins in an upcoming post!


Beth said...

Love this post! Such great art and the crackers look like they would be heavenly. I am having a hard time looking at blogs at work now. They have made our filters stronger now. It takes me forever to get into a blog. But I am persistant.

Sugar Bear said...

How fun! It seems like you get to do a lot of fun things and be at a lot of interesting locations.

Zara H. said...

Hi Jeanie, thanks for liking my first humble efforts with Photoshop:) Strange that you couldn't comment directly at my blog, I've checked everything so I hope it would work well now:)
Nice post about feels so warm and homely! Big Ben style is very lovely!

~*~Patty S said...

We Love the Christmas cracker tradition and do it on our German Christmas Eve with my Mutti and sister. We get some of the most fun and silly pictures around the dinner table!
No gorgeous boxes do these crackers come in anymore, I still have last years torn cracker bits ... oy! :)

Anya said...

Beautiful art :-)

If you want a little snow on your blog
its nice I have it also
not to many snow just a little
Its easy !!!!

greetings Anya :)

HerzBlatt said...

How interesting !! In Germany we use such crackers only on New Years Eve....Lovely pictures!!!

joyce said...

When I first read crackers in your title, I thought it was like Ritz cracjers, or Triscuits. I had forgotten about that kind. Unfortunately, the one time we did it as a child turned into a bit of an argument, so we never did them again. But I do love the art on these boxes...I love vintage art.

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for including my exhibit on your blog. Nice job on the photos. It's not easy avoiding the glare on the display case windows. I'm glad you enjoyed the display. For more neat graphics don't miss the Signs of Santa exhibit at the old Knapp's Department Store in downtown Lansing. It's my favorite. Val

Joanne Huffman said...

I've been to dinners when people have crackers and they're great fun. This looks like a fun exhibit.

Anonymous said...

Guy Fawkes Day absolutely is celebrated today - from what a friend tells me, it's a kind of British trick-or-treat time.

And of course the legacy lives on in literature! The phrase "a penny for the old guy" that appears as the epigraph for T.S. Eliot's "Hollow Men" is one example. Another is the round, "Heigh, ho, nobody home" that got incorporated into Peter, Paul and Mary's "A-Soulin'". While these aren't direct references to Guy Fawkes, they contain a tradition that goes back to him.

I had my first experience of crackers in England, the year I spent Christmas at Salisbury. The innkeepers made sure we had a proper Christmas, and there were crackers aplenty for everyone!

Such a fun post, and what wonderful art.

ForgedinPaper said...

Oh yes,remember remember the 5th of November is Bonfire Night here in the UK. Nowadays bonfires are very controlled but every town either has one or a big firework display. We also buy fireworks and have them in the garden. I love Bonfire Night I have to say. Halloween is becoming more popular here with the kids going out trick or treating and it's probably as there is less actual bonfires (Health and Safety)so making a guy(a stuffed dummy a bit like a scarecrow)for the bonfire and collecting money is not happening so much anymore.
I never realised crackers were a British thing and yes they are a must! In fact better go add them to the list of things I haven't bought yet lol.

Ruth said...

Oh, that's good to know where crackers came from! I haven't been to the museum for a year, even though it's just steps from my office door. :|

Mae Travels said...

We had cracker-like favors at birthday parties when I was a child. They were wrapped in pink crepe paper and you pulled little strings to open them. I never made the connection until I saw some of your pictures!

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh the circus tins just slay me. I LOVE them. I just love circus imagery, actually.

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