Thursday, 22 December 2011

The House of Capricorn and Christmas Crackers

Zyklus der Monate  -  Dezember
Meister Albert - 1400

The Sun enters the House of Capricorn.

'The man born under Capricorn shall be iracundious* and a fornicator; a liar, and always labouring. He shall be a governor of beasts with four feet. He shall suffer much sorrow in his youth, but shall leave many goods and riches. He shall have great peril at sixteen years. He shall be rich by women, and shall be a great conductor of maidens; he shall live seventy years and four months after nature.

The woman shall be honest and fearful, and have children of three men; she will do many pilgrimages in her youth, and after have great wit. She shall have great foods, but pain in her eyes, and shall be at her best estate at thirty years; she shall live seventy years after nature.

* be wrathful

From The Kalendar of Shepheardes 1604

I am no great fan of christmas crackers, but with every meal out at this time of year, whether in restaurants, pubs and even in some private houses, you'll find one of them on your plate. You're lucky if you have a small explosion when the thing comes apart - they don't always go off - and you then proceed to rummage around in the pile of torn shiny paper for your 'gift', your paper hat, and the obligatory joke. You put the hat on your head and read the joke to the assembled company. Apparently, there is an explanation: being able to groan in unison keeps everybody feeling included, everybody joins in, nobody feels left out.

Yesterday's writers' group lunch came with crackers;  I decided to collect some of the jokes and treat you all to samples of superior wit.

What did the fireman's wife get for Christmas?
A ladder in her stocking.

What does the headless horseman ride?
A nightmare.

Why did the teacher wear sunglasses to school?
Because her pupils were so bright.

Why did the tightrope walker visit his bank?
To check his balance.

What do you call a mischievous egg?
A practical yoker.

Where does Tarzan buy his clothes?
At a jungle sale.

Why is milk fast?
Because it's pasteurised before you see it.


  1. I don't know where I've been all my life because I've never seen a Christmas cracker before. That is except for the white folks in these parts.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Friko!

  2. I had a joke AND a general knowledge question in today's cracker. Me "what does IQ stand for"
    Friend, "dunno"
    Me "intelligence quotient"
    Friend, "that's not the slightest bit funny"

    Merry Christmas Friko, enjoy the silence!

    Lucy x

  3. Groan.

    But fun. Crackers were never part of our Christmas tradition. But they do have a way of leveling the playing field in a large gathering.

  4. I've never even seen a cracker. They appear to be a combination of noisemaker and fortune cookie. What fun! How could I have never known about them!

    That sounded like a pretty dour astrological interpretation--whew! Now I have to go google "iracundious"... ;)

    Merry Christmas!! :):)

  5. Your list of cracker treasures is already saved for the grandsons, who all adore bad jokes. Thanks, Friko.

    Being a great fan of mediaeval art, I love the illustration from the Zyklus der Monate. I must go and Google the rest of them. I'mm with Rita on the dourness of the birth predictions.

  6. It is a very nice painting.


  7. heh heh kind of one liners. I heard a one asking

    Q: "What's orange and sounds like a parrot...?

    A: A carrot!

    The men in the house thought this hilarious....*sigh*

  8. I never heard of a Christmas cracker either. It must be one of those things the Brits do that didn't make it across the pond. :-)

  9. Christmas crackers in Wisconsin are thin, crisp wafers topped with Wisconsin cheese - we are the dairy state!

    I thought crackers in Great Britain were only done on Christmas Day. Thanks for setting me straight, Friko.

  10. Wish I could find some Christmas crackers to have at each place setting this holiday...what fun!

    Hmmm...Our son is a Capricorn and a total opposite of the description given...thank goodness! But then if he had been born closer to the "scheduled time", he would have been an Aquarius...:o)

  11. smiles...thanks for the jokes...its been a long day...

    i was just introduced to these crackers last year...

  12. Apparently, according to the Telegraph, the best crackers this year are from Morrisons! They have the loudest crack and the best jokes -- at least they made Nicholas Parsons laugh and he was the judge!!! I bought a box today -- at only 5 pounds they are the best value at the others in the comparison, which included Harrods and Marks and Spencers!!!

  13. Thanks for the memories, Friko! My Aunt Molly used to love the plain silliness of Christmas crackers and we would often buy them just for her. They're not nearly as common here as in the U.S., but are nice for a bit of holiday fun.

  14. Dear Friko: I remember these crackers at my Great Aunt's Christmas dinners. We'd all wait and crack them at the same time, inside were party hats and a toy or something. I dont remember the fortune cookie type thing. Merry Christmas Everyone!!

  15. Whatever you post--I love.

    You are the best, Friko...the best!

  16. I haven't had Christmas crackers since I was a child. I thought they were wonderful then, of course.
    All the best to you and Beloved and Benno and Gardener.

  17. We o not see a lot of crackers here in the way you describe them. Some people buy or make some for the meal on the 25th. Have a Merry Christmas.

  18. I've never seen or heard of the Christmas crackers before either. Look what we have been missing out on all these years.

  19. We had Christmas cracters when i was a small child...sent to us by relatives in England. Now you can buy them in the US. Christmas crackers were one of the few things I would buy when I visited the UK so my children experienced this English tradition also.

  20. Groan. Groan. Groan.

    Christmas crackers used to scare me when I was a child but I love them now. So cheesy, but so much fun!

  21. Yes, I've pulled a few crackers already this year and have ours ready for Saturday night. So far I have a fleur de lis bottle stopper (clear plastic), a miniature measuring tape, a miniature picture frame and a key chain for all my efforts.

  22. groaners are universal indeed, thanks for sharing. Love your almanac too. Happy Christmas dear Friko

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <

  23. We don't have Christmas Crackers here in Norway which is almost a relief. So, we are spared the sight of people sporting silly hats as we pass the aquavit around the table. I think I miss the corny jokes though, So, I am grateful for these.


  24. Christmas crackers are used on New Year not on Christmas eve (as you may know) in Belgium too.
    We never had them not even when we celebrated Christmas in London.
    Have a look at the German/Italian Christmas here

  25. We award a special Xmas prize to the person at the Xmas table who shares the worst cracker joke. I'm happy/sad (depending on your point of view) to say that ANY of yours would win hands down!!!

  26. Wishing you a cracking good Christmas, my friend.

  27. I'm surprised at how many folks have never heard of the crackers. We usually spend Christmas with my ex's cousins and they always have them at the place settings. And they usually make their appearance at New Years parties, also. Fun idea to collect and share the "jokes."

  28. Friko, I have known quite a few Capricorns over the years, male and female, and am still trying to match them up with the descriptions you've quoted. Very funny stuff.

    Crackers can also be very funny stuff, particularly when they pop as expected. We had our workplace holiday dinner party at a restaurant last weekend and had our traditional cracker pulling. Yes, it is silly, and we definitely looked wacky in our crowns. But we did laugh quite a bit. Perhaps the champagne helped?

    Happy Christmas to you and yours! xo

  29. You are right the jokes are a big groan, but with a few glssses of spirits and excellent food (I hope it is excellent), who cares? maybe it is good to get giggly once in a while. Dianne

  30. "Why did the little girl throw the clock out the window?"
    "She wanted to see time fly."

    (insert groan)

    A Merry Christmas to you. I've had another recent entry open to leave a comment for two days - but I'm out of time. I'm leaving for Louisiana RIGHT NOW. There's a friend tapping her toe as I type. I'll be back in a few days, and can leave a more leisurely and sensible comment then.

    Your leaves are beautiful, by the way. I hope your holidays are as beautiful.

  31. I'll keep a couple of these jokes for grandson , who'll be mightily impressed by my sudden transformation into stand-up comic .

  32. I can't remember pulling any crackers with jokes in them. Maybe they're a bit different here or I just haven't pulled any quality ones.

    Just wanted to wish you and Benno a lovely and happy holiday season! It's Christmas here already, 1251. I'm doing a clock check at every blog. Feeling industrious and awake tonight lol.

  33. Those are really good ones. I like their eXtreme conciseness. Their silly to syllable ratio is very high.

  34. A termite goes into a bar and asks, "Is the bartender here?"

    Merry Christmas Friko.

  35. I meet all the criteria for a Capricorn woman - maybe I wasn't born in April...
    Love the cracker jokes, I haven't pulled a cracker for a few years so the jokes sound like new to me.

  36. They certainly did make it across the pond to Canada! I grew up with these and so did my husband; we have British parents/grandparents. Having had Christmas crackers at the table since childhood I'm quite fond of them, but I can certainly see how silly they are to those introduced to them as adults.

  37. It’s nice to finally be out of bed and able to read blogs. I read all your posts since November. Sorry to hear you were sick. I also have not heard about crackers. Although I spent all my teenage Christmas in England, I don’t remember them then. I hope you have a merry Christmas.

  38. merry christmas - keep up the excellent blog

  39. Happy Boxing Day, Friko -- my holiday greetings are all a tad late! But I have to say that while these jokes aren't exactly complex, some of them are awfully funny! I hope you had a lovely day.

  40. Hope you had a happy Christmas! I'm a capricorn, but I have never felt like a typical one. Those cracker jokes are pretty typical though. In fact I remember some of them from my schooldays! :)

  41. Can you imagine having to make up those jokes? I believe it would make me iracundious, or at the very least, I would go, er, crackers . . .

  42. I'm just as glad crackers aren't a part of our tradition -- I wouldn''t mind the jokes but am not fond of silly hats. I wonder -- Do you suppose the Queen wears a silly hat at Christmas dinner?

  43. LOVE the crackers! But we usually save them to make some noise on New Year's Eve :)
    Btw, Happy New Year!!!


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