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Press Release
Cards are approx. 5 3/4" x 4 1/2" when cello packaged with white envelopes.


For Immediate Release

Press Release Nov 21, 2006:


GillianCards introduces its first edition of turn-back-the-clock, Old Fashioned Christmas Crackers. Drawing upon the Victorian roots of this beloved Christmas tradition this year's limited edition is filled with quality treats, candy, turn of the century puzzles and surprises. "I would dearly love to replace every empty designer cracker on the planet with these wonderful treats", says Gillian.


<<(For Immediate Release) November 21, 2006 -- GillianCards introduces its first edition of turn-back-the-clock, Old Fashioned Christmas Crackers. The 2006 hand-wrapped line announces Gillian's intention to draw further upon the Victorian roots of this beloved Christmas tradition. This year's limited edition is filled with quality treats, candy, turn of the century puzzles and surprises.

Several years ago Gillian McCrostie, owner of GillianCards, went shopping for Christmas crackers at a better known, quality retail store. Looking over the selection, she found a box with pretty papers and a festive look. However, after reading the contents of the box, she was horrified to see they included a pen knife! "For Christmas, can you believe it?" asks Gillian who still remembers her shock. Looking more closely at other boxes she began to see that for the most part they were filled with plastic gizmos and un-festive junk, not at all in keeping with the original idea of treats, mottoes, puzzles and little gifts.

Gillian immediately resolved to stop buying mass produced crackers and begin making them herself. "I wanted my crackers to be filled with treats like the ones my Mom used to put in the stocking she lay beside my bed each Christmas eve. In it were pieces of fruit, nuts, candy and tiny wrapped surprises. Obviously many people shared my thoughts about how tired and empty the modern day cracker had become. I received mounting requests from people asking me to make my cracker version for their families and friends. After only one year I was already making hundreds of crackers for my Toronto card shop." Continuing to expand the concept every year, Gillian began to create these gentle old fashioned crackers for her feline friends, including in them, toy mice, catnip and tiny party hats!

She began brainstorming about further developing her cracker line in keeping with the Victorian roots of the tradition when they were a lively source of holiday fun, family entertainment and included the all-important element of surprise. "Victorian crackers were an event; an entertainment that people looked forward to with anticipation and that is what I want for my crackers." Looking at her eyes you can sense her own excited anticipation at introducing this first 'turn-back-the-clock' edition of GillianCards Old Fashioned, Hand-wrapped Christmas Crackers.

For Christmas 2006, the 6 inch 'Treat Tubes' (the finished crackers are 10" in length) in GillianCards' Crackers are filled to the brim with old fashioned puzzles, conundrums, jokes, Christmas decorations, candies, brightly patterned tissue crowns, holiday confetti, Christmas carols, stickers and of course the snapper everyone loves to pop! Once filled, the Treat Tubes are hand-wrapped with two layers of tissue, covered by festively designed over-wrap and tied with bright curling ribbons.

"I spent a great deal of time this year sourcing old-fashioned puzzles and other entertaining word games, drawing heavily from an early 1900's puzzle book. And they're quite hard, some of them!", Gillian announces "I will be including a pencil and eraser in each cracker so puzzle lovers can get to work while waiting for their Christmas dinner to cook or in between the main course and dessert."

And speaking of that, when and how do people like to open their crackers? "According to my customers, some hold the snappers carefully at the end of each cracker before they pull... some grab the cracker ends like pony tails... some grab the whole cracker at the middle! Some folks share their crackers with the person to their right or left or across the table. Some folks are do-it-yourselfers. But when and where is best? Under the Christmas tree? At the table? Before Dinner? After Dinner? Christmas Eve? Gillian says, "According to my customers who write in every year, there is no one answer; every family develops its own tradition which is often then passed down through the generations. In Victorian times, crackers were placed in the boughs of Christmas trees as decorations.  In our family, crackers were placed at the top of each place setting at the dinner table and we opened them before dinner putting on our silly paper crowns and reading our jokes out loud.  Now, in the Victorian tradition,  I prefer cracking them apart as we await dessert. By then all the meal preparation and serving is done and everyone in the family can join in the fun, solving the puzzles, singing carols and enjoying the treats."

There are no plans afoot to allow this company to grow too large. The emphasis for now is rather on returning to quality, tradition and an element of surprise. "I would dearly love to replace every empty designer cracker on the planet with a fun Treat Tube from GillianCards Old Fashioned, Hand-made Crackers. Maybe, I will expand a bit and rent a double garage one year for production but once I can't make all the crackers myself with a friend or two around the kitchen table within the 4-6 month allotted production period, then it will be time to begin refusing orders and/or devising a waiting list for the next season.  A cottage industry might work!" The remaining 6 or 7 months of the year at GillianCards are booked solid when production turns to greeting cards and crackers for birthdays, weddings, baby showers and themed events such as mystery parties, golf events and ladybug parties.>>

Related Links:

1)  Pictures of the Cracker Production at GillianCards http://www.gilliancards.com/ChristmasCrackerProduction.htm


2)  History of the Cracker:

- In Brief: http://www.gilliancards.com/crackerhistory.htm


- Victorian Cracker Companies:  www.christmasarchives.com/crackers.html


- For a fascinating account about the history of the cracker, itís production and traditions, and some wonderful pictures of the original Tom Smith crackers,

visit, ĎThe Ten Generations Projectí site at:



3) Christmas Traditions:

Crackers used to be laid out in the branches of trees:


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Contact Information

Gillian McCrostie



Visit Our Web Sites:

Fax: 801 702-5775


Email us HERE.


Christmas cracker production at GillianCards.


Cat Christmas Cracker
Christmas crackers for kitties contain toy mouse, catip, feathers, cat joke and a tiny paper tissue 'crown'! Retail: $6.00 each.

Holly Cracker
Holly Crackers are elegant at GillianCards Old Fashioned Crackers. Retail Price: $6.00 each.

Candy Canes
Candy is included in every GillianCards Old Fashioned Cracker!

Hand-made paper tissue 'crowns'
Printed, paper tissue 'crowns' or hats hand-made by GillianCards.

Hanukkah Old Fashioned Cracker.
Filled with chocolate 'coins', stickers, dreidls, paper hat. Price: $6.00 each.





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