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Go straight to top of the table with cracking beauty surprises

Festive minis hidden within a cracker or bauble make a brilliant - and pampering - special touch.

By Katie Wright

Groan-worthy jokes and flimsy paper crowns are all well and good, but if you really want to impress diners on December 25, adorn place settings with a cracker that conceals a pampering treat or two - goodies that will last long after the pudding's been polished off.

And you'll score even more hostess points if you pluck a beauty bauble from the tree for each guest to send them on their merry way.

We've picked the decorations that will delight this Christmas.

Molton Brown has a selection of five crackers, each containing a trio of heavenly scented miniatures (we love the rich Orange and Bergamot), and you'll find them all in the Six-Piece Signature Crackers Box, £120 (www.moltonbrown.co.uk).

If dark and decadent is your Christmas decor MO, Decleor Surprise Skincare Crackers, currently reduced to £10.80 from £12 each, John Lewis, will fit right in, and with each containing a 50ml hand cream they are actually surprisingly good value (www.johnlewis.com).

Concealing three bath and shower minis each, L'Occitane's boldly-hued Festive Crackers Collection, £20 for three, will brighten up any festive table (www.loccitane.com).

Emblazoned with a dapper harlequin design, Jo Malone Christmas Crackers, £33 each, deliver a travel sized cologne, body wash and body creme to each lucky recipient (www.jomalone.co.uk).

With their smiling snowman exteriors, it doesn't get much cuter (or bargainous) than these Dirty Works Crackers About Beauty offerings, £3 for three, from Sainsbury's (www.sainsburys.co.uk).

Sleek, chic and shiny, Rituals' The Ritual Of Light Fortune Crackers, £19.50 for six, each come with a luxurious gift and a wise saying to set the tone for a grown-up gathering (www.rituals.com).

Go for gold with Baylis and Harding's Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Cracker Set, currently reduced to £5 from £10 for four, House of Fraser, each of which contains a body lotion or body wash in the succulent scent (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).

Inside the sizeable pink metallic Melvita L'Or Bio Bauble, £11, FeelUnique.com, you'll find a stash of goodies all scented with that gorgeous L'Or Bio fragrance (www. feelunique.com).

So pretty you'll want to keep it for many Christmases to come, the snowflake-emblazoned Bronnley Christmas Apple & Cinnamon Soap Bauble, £6.50, hides a full-size soap from the classic beauty brand (www.bronnley.co.uk).

Give the gift of a good night's rest with the This Works Sleep Tight Bauble, £12, Boots, which contains three of the brand's addictive sleep-inducing solutions (www.boots.com).

Unscrew the cap of Zoella Deck The Baubles, currently reduced to £5 from £6, Superdrug, to reveal the tempting aroma of spicy gingerbread and warm vanilla bubble bath (www.super drug.com).

In stylish black, gold and burgundy, the Baylis & Harding Signature Assorted 3 Bauble Set, currently reduced to £10 from £20, House of Fraser, comes with a differently scented body wash and lotion duo - just add ribbons to dangle them from your tree boughs (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).

Say hello to a decadent decoration and goodbye to split-ends, with the on-trend copper coloured GHD Advanced Split End Therapy Bauble, £15, Very, which comes with a travel-friendly tube of the hair-repairing treatment (www.very.co.uk).

Are you forever rummaging in your handbag during winter in search of lip balm?

The pretty pink Mandara Spa Shimmering Lip Butter Treats bauble, £3.50, Sainsbury's, hides a pair of lip butter pots, so you'll always have one to hand (www.sainsburys.co.uk).

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