The Christmas cracker is a seasonal fixture that sits somewhere between overeating and busy shops in terms of Christmas traditions. Around in one form or another since the 1840s, the standard cracker contains a hat, a gift and a joke.
Hats and gifts have remained relatively consistent over the years, there’s only so much you can fit inside a small, cardboard cylinder. Jokes, however, have evolved and mutated almost beyond recognition since the cracker’s creation. What we find hilarious on Christmas Day in 2014 would be met by blank stares in 1914.
We’ve explored the British Newspaper Archive to look back at what made us chortle at different points in the past, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into the way humour has changed.