Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Christmas crackers are not the easiest things to come by in Norway. Unlike England there is no tradition of putting crackers out on the Christmas table for guests to pull before Christmas dinner.
Being both Norwegian and English, my family likes to combine both cultures and Christmas crackers are always something that we hunt endlessly for and never really find anything good. So this year we decided to opt for a different table gift. Andre and I recently saw an episode of "Escape to the Chateau" where Angel Strawbridge created a beautiful table gift from vintage books and we decided to recreate something similar but with our own unique Nordic twist.
The premise is to take a vintage book (or simply a second-hand book), hollow out the middle and fill it with little gifts and treats. You will want to find hardback books because you will hollowing out the middle and a paperback just won't stand up to the job. It's also nice to find something with a pretty cover. I have made simple covers for mine out of some beautiful vintage printable paper from The Graphics Fairy. They have some rally beautiful vintage and retro paper printables on their website here. If you find books with really gorgeous covers you could leave them as they are.
So let's start!
For each person you will need:
A hardback book. It really needs to be hardback because otherwise it won't take the cutting.
A sharp craft knife or Stanley knife
Spacers such as coins or washers
Some pretty paper or vintage paper. I have used some vintage paper from The Graphics Fairy
Glitter, sparkles, sequins or other fancies as you see fit
Treats and little gifts to fill your book
First space the first few pages. Open the book and turn the first page until you come one with writing on. Turn that one over and leave the book open.
Mix some of the glue with 50% water so you have a slightly watery solution. Paint the outside edges of the book, but not the pages that you have opened to the left.
Using the spacers, keep the non glued pages away from the glued ones and close the book. Leave to dry for a few hours or overnight.
Measure the length and width of the book and leaving a margin of about 1.5cm all around carefully cut through the pages inside to make a hollow. This takes some time and a little work, so be patient because it's worth it. We found that we had to do it in several cuts, just cutting through a few pages at a time.
Paint the glue mixture around the insides of the pages and leave to dry again.
Glue down the single page with writing on that you left free in stage 1.
Carefully cut a hollow in the single glued page to create the opening. The inside is now complete.
Measure the front of the book and cut a piece of vintage paper or wrapping paper to cover it. Glue it down and allow it to dry. I also printed off some vintage Scandinavian Christmas cards which I stuck on as well. At this point you might like to decorate further to match your Christmas table décor. I like to leave the rest of the book so it can be seen.
Allow everything to dry thoroughly.
Fill the hollow in your book with some personalised treats and treasures. You can tailor this to each guest so they all receive something they truly love. Some ideas might be candy, handmade Christmas ornaments, little journals, a gift card, fun little vintage toys or some crafting supplies.
I hope I've inspired you to create something unique and vintage for your Christmas or holiday table. I'd love to see your own creations, so please do share them with me at the Living a Nordic Life Facebook group.