For centuries, nutcrackers have been a key element in Christmas history, lore and tradition. From the famous ballet “The Nutcracker” to references in popular holiday films, plays and stories, to our own family memories, few icons of Christmas are as recognizable and eternal.
With the history of the nutcracker dating back hundreds of years ago, it is no surprise that over the centuries that followed the symbol became practically synonymous with Christmas itself. Originating in Europe, these pieces were created as not only a tool to help crack nuts, but also a product for villagers to sell, allowing them to make money and support their families.
The designs can vary, but traditionally, they are modeled after soldiers and even political figures. The icon that most know-the wooden, hand-painted soldier-remains the distinct image thought of when we hear the name. Though with modern manufacturing and technology, nutcrackers have definitely evolved. Now they can be made of glass and plastic in addition to wood, even formed into ornaments or other decorative statement pieces.
Wooden nutcrackers today pay homage to the image that is known and loved in Christmas history. Often still handcrafted and hand painted, these wooden decorations bring a sense of tradition, elegance and history to any home. They are often considered collectible and can be passed down from generation to generation. They are detailed, exquisite works of art that are carved individually and painted to represent a myriad of different characters, and not always the familiar soldier design. Often they can be painted to represent royalty, snowmen, Santa, and more! They can also come in a wide range of sizes, anywhere from two inches tall to a four-foot statue.
For those wanting a little more fun and whimsy, novelty nutcrackers offer a touch of tradition with new and unusual characters and designs. A novelty piece may be made of plastic, allowing it to double as a nightlight! For the sports fan, it may be painted to represent a favorite team or player. For children, famous Christmas or storybook characters can be depicted as well!
By far one of the most popular ways to showcase these classic soldiers during the holidays is to hang them right on the tree! Ornaments are great ways to bring the spirit of nutcrackers to the home without taking up too much space. Made of wood, glass or plastic and designed in hundreds of ways, everyone can choose the style that is right for their family.
Whether acting out a tabletop scene from the classic ballet, complete with Clara and the Mouse King, greeting guests at the front door in regal statue form, donning the boughs of the Christmas tree, or actually being used to crack holiday nuts, this timeless piece is a holiday staple that evokes imagination, and no home is truly complete without one. The imagery is iconic, the history is unforgettable, and the possibilities are endless. To find the best selection available, look no further than the Internet, where the only limit is the imagination.