Leave the pinatas for the kids and treat your New Year’s Eve guests to another form of “break open” surprises: party poppers.

Officially, these little accessories are known as “Christmas crackers,” and they were originated during the 1800s in England. But they also will liven up things at the stroke of midnight. The idea is for a person on each end of the popper to pull until they hear a “pop” – and then all sorts of goodies will fall out. How much fun is that?

Party poppers are just as entertaining to make. For an elegant look, use wrapping paper – perhaps metallic or glittered – and then find tiny trinkets to go inside the tube. After the holidays, revamp the process to brighten a wedding shower or children’s party.

New Year’s Eve Party Poppers

Supplies

– 1 empty paper-towel tube.
– Glitter, fortunes, horoscopes, confetti, mints, funny notes, chocolate coins, small party favors.
– 12- by 12-inch piece of wrapping or tissue paper.
– Scissors.
– Glue gun or tape.
– Ribbon.

Directions: Cut the cardboard tube in half, then cut one of the halves in half. Fill all three pieces with glitter, confetti and other festive accessories. Lay the wrapping paper face down on a flat surface, then set the three cardboard tubes in an even row at the edge of the paper, leaving a 1/2-inch space between each tube. Carefully glue or tape the edge of the wrapping paper in an even line across the tubes. Roll the paper over the tubes once and trim excess paper (also on each end of the tube). Gently twist tubes at the disconnected points and add ribbon for flair. Add them to the table place settings, place a bunch inside a large glass bowl or hand out right before midnight.

Tips and variations: Before giving poppers to guests, use a pin to poke holes around the edges of the tube so it will break open easier. For smaller poppers, use cardboard tubes from wrapping paper. Use color copies of family photos for a personalized look.

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Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).

Love & light,