For most of us in the UK, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without crackers, but not everyone is fond of them and for some people it can be a serious issue.
Over the years I have heard from many customers about how they do not like loud bangs, and when I offered crackers to them to pull at shows and trade fairs, some physically recoiled. For a while I puzzled why this would be the case and here is what I have learnt…

Fear of loud noises

Some people cannot cope with loud noises. This is less to do with a hearing condition, but rather a fear or phobia known as phonophobia, also called ligyrophobia or sonophobia. This can cause anxiety attacks often leading to severe migraines. So pulling crackers for these people is problematic. Others can experience sensory overload.

What is sensory overload?

It happens when a person’s senses become overwhelmed and the brain finds it difficult to process, resulting in confusion and not knowing how to react to the stimulation. This can result in feelings of distress and panic and in extreme situations the individual would need to get away from the perceived threat.
It is commonly associated with certain conditions such as; Autism, ADHD, PTSD, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, anxiety, as well as Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis. 700K people in the UK have a diagnosis of Autism, including 1-100 children. 6.6m people are expected to experience PTSD at some point in their lives and according to a ONS study, 2.2m people were diagnosed with ADHD in 2022.

However it can affect anyone and in different ways. I recently learnt that crackers can be problematic in care homes as residents find them too distressing.

Standard cracker snaps

What is it about Christmas Crackers that can cause this?

Standard disposable crackers go bang when pulled apart. This is because they come with snaps inside. These cardboard strips come in two parts joined together in the middle by a thin tissue wrap. One end of the strip has a tiny bit of compound called Silver Fulminate applied to it, the other has a small amount of sandpaper. So when the cracker is pulled and the snap breaks, these two strips rub against each other causing friction and this is what makes the loud bang.
I have even heard of people hating the smell that the cracker snaps emit when pulled.

Keep This Cracker without the bang

A solution is at hand

So I gave myself the challenge to come up with a solution for a cracker snap that would solve this problem. The ecosnap was born. These alternative snaps, made from FSC® card, do not include any added compounds, so when the cracker is pulled it breaks with a gentle pop.

There are some added benefits too;

  • The ecosnaps are fully recyclable and made in the UK.
  • Also for pet owners as crackers can cause a flight or fight response in their pets.
Low-noise ecosnaps

What do our customers say?

Here’s a comment from a customer ‘They arrived today and I’ve just tested it out. They are great. Still give the resistance of pulling a cracker, but without the bang – perfect for us!’

Kathryn Swift is a parent with small children, and a teacher who specialises in Special Educational needs. So it was really interesting to hear her views when I asked her to try our reusable crackers with the ecosnaps. She kindly shared her thoughts and experience and went on to say how Christmas can be a very overwhelming time for some children and adults with additional needs. The bustle and excitement, change in routine and unpredictability can cause a sensory overload for some. She added, ‘When you say pet friendly, is that because of the noise? If so, they would be fantastic for those with auditory/sensory needs. My son is autistic and the loud pops distress him…These crackers are a fantastic way of helping to alleviate some of the sensory overload.’

The ecosnaps were first launched with a trial and the initial uptake was very encouraging. So I took the decision to offer our reusable crackers exclusively with the ecosnaps. But for customers who like their crackers with a bang,  they work equally well standard noisy snaps, available in replacement packs of 12.

Do you, or anyone in your family or circle of friends, hate the loud bangs from Christmas crackers? If so I’d love to hear your story…

The Keep This Cracker construction is PATENT PROTECTED and a registered design.
The ecosnap is exclusive to Keep This Cracker and approved manufacturer and stockists, registered trademark and a registered design.

© 2023 Bea Thackeray

PLEASE NOTE: The information in this blog post is correct to my knowledge and at time of writing. To find out more about why our pets are not fans either, read the blog – ‘Why does my pet hate Christmas Crackers?