Sick of flimsy paper hats, rubbish toys and jokes that make you groan not laugh?

Then you need to ditch the traditional table fare and treat your guests to a corking cracker from their favourite beauty brand instead.

Whether you plump for a 'best of' box or mix and match your crackers, these gift-filled goodies are sure to delight on Christmas Day.

:: The Best Of Space NK Christmas Crackers, £48 for 6 (www.spacenk.com)

Inside every cracker is a mini from one of the beauty boutique's bestselling brands, plus an expert tip on party season pampering. And because unisex products like body wash and moisturiser are included, the boys won't feel left out - as long as you allow swapsies over dinner, of course.

:: Cowshed Cracking Cow Gift Set Cracker, £10 each (www.cowshedonline.com)

Lending your guests respite from the biting winter weather, Cowshed's crackers contain a little Restoring Hand Cream and a Lippy Cow Lip Balm. They'll also look chic if you've got a festive red and white colour scheme going on.

:: Autograph Cracker Gift Set, £18 for 6 (www.marksandspencer.com)

They look like traditional Crimbo crackers, but each matte or metallic-wrapped roll in this great value pack holds a make-up mini and a beauty tip too. Lip gloss, mascara and eyeliner are standard, so this is definitely more of a girly set.

:: Philip Kingsley Luscious Locks Christmas Cracker, £5 (FeelUnique.com)

Surprise a hair-obsessed guest with a delightful duo from the cult hair brand. Containing Daily Damage Defence conditioning spray and Kingsley's hero treatment, Elasticizer, pulling this cracker is liable to lead to a very good hair day.

:: Roger & Gallet Bois D'Orange Hand & Nail Cream Cracker, £6 (FeelUnique.com)

Roger & Gallet have a range of brightly-hued crackers, each containing a nourishing shea butter Creme Sublime Hand & Nail Cream. Choose from pretty rose pink, punchy lime green or juicy Bois D'Orange.

:: Jo Malone Christmas Cracker, £32 each (www.jomalone.co.uk)

The most luxurious cracker in the pampering pack comes from (who else?) Jo Malone. This limited-edition ribbon-tied beauty comes with three lusciously scented travel-sized treats, including the zesty unisex Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne.


Is your Christmas tree in need of a seasonal spruce-up? Give it a makeover with a bevy of baubles bursting with tiny beauty treats.

From cute star shapes to sizeable spheres, bestow the boughs with these dangling decorations and enjoy your most beautiful Yuletide yet.

:: Molton Brown Frankincense & Allspice Festive Hand Wash Bauble, £10 (www.moltonbrown.co.uk)

Follow in the footsteps of the Wise Men with Molton Brown's festively scented sphere. The bauble unscrews to release a rich, vetiver-infused hand wash blended with frankincense oil.

:: Avon Gel Finish Nail Enamel Bauble, £7 each (www.avonshop.co.uk)

Personalise your tree trinket by picking a pair from more than 20 Avon nail polishes, including festive favourites like gold and silver or red and green. Your chosen two will then be packaged in a pretty perspex bauble ready for hanging.

:: Lush Winter Garden, £18.50 (www.lush.co.uk)

This bauble isn't quite so suitable for hanging on the tree (unless you've got a 30ft Norwegian Spruce in your back garden), because it's an almost football-sized tin filled with Ro's Argan Body Conditioner, Rose Jam Shower Gel and a bar of Sultana Of Soap.

:: Aromatherapy Associates The Star, £10 (www.aromatherapyassociates.com)

Containing a sage and cardamom scented Bath Oil, this sweet star-shaped ornament is ideal if you're looking for five minutes' peace among the Christmas chaos. There's added feel-good factor too, because 10% of proceeds go to Defence Against Cancer.

:: Mavala Nail Polist Bauble, £5 (www.johnlewis.com)

Mavala's diminutive nail polish pots are perfectly sized for a decorative sphere, and this year you can choose from ribbon-tied red, gold or silver shade - or all three if you're feeling really festive.

:: Sanctuary A Touch of Sparkle Body Butter, £7.50 (www.boots.com)

Another weighty decoration, there's nothing mini about Sanctuary's Body Butter bauble. That's no bad thing though, as this tub of luscious lotion will keep your skin moisturised and shimmering well into 2015.

:: BareMinerals 10 Piece Merry Moxie Mini Glosses With Star Ornament, £34.50 (www.qvcuk.com)

This pair of pink stars delivers no less than five mini lip glosses a piece. With seasonal shades like Sparkplug and Party Starter, there are certainly enough lippy picks here to see you through the 12 days of Christmas.


:: Rozina Sabur gets to grips with the gadget that claims to enhance each step of your skincare regime.

Winter is always a rough season for those who, like me, get extremely dry skin from the frosty weather, so I was eager to try this device, which promises to boost your skincare routine using ion technology.

It looks more like an epilator than something appropriate for your face, but the vibrating gadget comes with a hassle-free charger and its compact size means it doesn't take up much room in my bathroom cabinet.

The Yoso has three settings: cleanse, moisturise and boost. You use your own usual products but, rather than using your fingers to apply them, the device does it for you, with the ion technology becoming activated when the titanium head is in contact with your skin.

However, I find my skin is not left with its usual clean feel, probably because the device's tiny head limits how much product can be applied. It's also quite hard to use around your nose and the crevices of your face as effectively as just using your hands, though it does feel nice and gentle.

After a few uses, though, I haven't noticed enough of a difference in my skin to carry on with the recommended 15 minutes of daily treatment.

:: Yoso Pro 3 Step Deep Cleansing System, £149.99 (BeautyCrowd.com)


Victoria Beckham's clothing may be prohibitively expensive, but you can now get a VB-approved manicure thanks to a new collaboration via her diffusion line. The snappily titled Victoria, Victoria Beckham x Nails Inc comprises the almost pinkish Bamboo White and Judo Red (which is actually more like hazmat orange), each housed in a supremely chic matte bottle. They're £25 each or £45 for the gift-boxed pair (www.nailsinc.com).


:: Kissmas greetings

Mistletoe at the ready. If you're planning to snare a snog with the object of your affections this Christmas, you're not alone. A survey by Carmex reveals that one in 10 Brits plan to kiss three or more people over the festive period, while one in 20 plan to smooch five or more. Ooh-la-la!

:: A tree-mendous idea

If sending lots of Christmas cards leaves you feeling guilty about all the trees that have been sacrificed to make them, here's a more eco-friendly option. For every digital greeting sent via their website, beauty brand Caudalie will plant a tree in the Pedra Talhada Reserve in Brazil. Visit uk.caudalie.com/1wish1tree to send your customised animated e-card and view the trees you've helped plant on a map.


Given the price of some beauty brand crackers, it could cost an arm and a leg to kit out a whole Christmas dinner table, especially if every aunty, uncle and long-lost cousin is flying in. Baylis & Harding's Beauticology: Sweet Crackers, however, are much more affordable at a fiver a piece, and you can pick them up while you're on the turkey run in Waitrose (www.waitrose.com).