I believe I do have a timeline of events that you might find enlightening.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Deborah and Jerry coordinate to virtually pull a Christmas cracker on a family video call. They are helped in their attempt by Toby and Alex, and lightly teased by Russ.
While playing a round of charades, Deborah calls the rest of the family “spaniels” for deliberately avoiding the correct guess, even though she had already revealed the answer accidentally.
The family each rip up the hat that they get from their cracker, although Alex has to first be reminded to do so.
Instead of Christmas pudding, Deborah has half a scotch egg.
At one point during the call, Alex tells Toby to let their dog, Oswald, out.
The Wilkinson family pull Christmas crackers around the table, starting with Vanessa and Uncle Newt. Vanessa wins and immediately takes the hat from inside and rips it up.
She also gets a small plastic cowboy from the cracker, which she gives to her grandson, Benji. Benji is warned not to snatch by his mother, Hilla, who reminds him that “Level 3” behaviour is expected.
Jerry says “onwards and upwards” and nominates Deborah to pull the next cracker.
Deborah chooses to pull her cracker with her grandfather, Walter. Vanessa indicates to Walter that his cracker is on his side plate. Deborah wins, but questions if she has to rip up her hat. She asks if that tradition comes from them being a bit Jewish.
Hilla tells her that lighting the candles is because they are a bit Jewish, but that the hat ripping comes from the Wilkinson side. It transpires that the tradition dates back at least as far as Uncle Newt’s childhood.
Uncle Newt prepares to tell the story of why the family rip the hats, but he is interrupted by a kitchen timer. Hilla bustles out of the room to fetch the pudding, enlisting help from Myra.
The Nightingale family are celebrating Christmas with a family friend, Monty James.
Patrick opens a Christmas cracker. He reads the joke, but sets his hat aside without putting it on.
His son, Oswald, and daughter, Gally, both protest that he should wear the hat. Even his wife, Lettie, points out that Mr. James is wearing the hat that he won from his own cracker. Patrick is unmoved and does not wear his hat.
Oswald opens his cracker next and is excited to find a kazoo inside. After requesting permission from his father, Oswald attempts to put on his own hat, but it rips as he is doing so.
Gally blames the rip on the large size of Oswald’s head, but suggests that Oswald should take their father’s unused hat. Patrick refutes the idea, saying that Oswald should have taken better care of his hat.
Seeing an opportunity to lighten the mood, Mr. James seizes Patrick’s hat and rips it. The family laughs as Patrick then rips Mr. James’ hat and Gally rips her mother’s one.
Patrick describes this round of hat ripping as “fun in its proper place”.
As the laughter dies down, Gally tells Oswald to let their dog, Toby, out.
At the end of the meal, Patrick reveals to the children that Mr. James is known for his ghost stories, and that he has kindly consented to tell them one now.