For the past few years the kids and I have been making our own Chrismas crackers. We have a blast picking out a toy for each person and packing it into a toilet paper tube with some chocolate and other assorted goodies. We include a question in every cracker and we take turns throughout the evening asking our question to the group. Some of the ones we have used are: "If you could meet anybody, who would it be?", "What is the best book you read this past year?", "What 1 new thing do you want to try in the coming year?". We have found that we learn a lot about each other through this simple exercise plus it's usually pretty funny.
To cover the tubes we just roll them in some left over fabric I had and tie them with strips of cloth. We even label them so we know who gets which toy/gift inside. The best thing is you can just gather up the fabric and put it away for next year. If you have boys like I do, you can purchase the "fire-sticks" for inside the crackers from craft stores in December. They are also known as poppers, my boys are just dramatic.