During the holidays, it is not uncommon to find a variety of wooden soldiers in varying sizes and shapes decorating fireplace mantels or quietly patrolling rooms from other perches. Nutcrackers, like these majestic tiny soldiers, has become a well-known Christmas symbol.
Folklore of Germany
Christmas Nutcracker, according to German mythology, is presented as gift to families to bring good luck and safeguard the home. In rural Germany, nutcracker carving emerged as a cottage business. The best-known examples originate from the Ore Mountains and Sonneberg, Germany, a town known for doll-making.
Soldiers, kings, and knights, as well as other medieval vocations, have all been carved into nutcrackers over the last 500 years. During the 1891-1892 season, Tchaikovsky’s musical version of The Nutcracker, set to music by Brahms, was performed for the first time.
Ballets like The Nutcracker are a must-see over the holidays. The story of this two-act dance revolves around a Christmas Eve celebration for a family. Every year, hundreds of ballet groups around the world stage this production.
Fascination with the United States
Now that people are decorating with nutcrackers for the holidays, they were not used in the past. A little over half a century ago, they only started to gain traction in the United States. Soldiers from the United States brought the miniatures back from Germany as presents and souvenirs.
As a result of their enormous popularity, countless copies were made. Pre-shelled nuts’ designs altered as they became more widely available. Modern nutcrackers are mainly decorative, as opposed to the originals, which had massive (and sturdy) jaws for cracking open nuts. Why People Loved Nutcrackers in the First Place
Nutcrackers have a long history, dating back to metal instruments resembling modern-day pliers. According to the Nutcracker Museum, useful and beautiful Nutcrackers were being carved in the 15th century. These anthropomorphic sculptures, called Nutcrackers in German, resembled dogs, birds, and other creatures.
By 1930, nutcrackers had taken on the appearance of a human being. The crackers resembled minor persons with a lever or screw to open and close their mouths.
The first commercially produced and sold nutcrackers were developed by German carpenter Wilhelm Fichtner in 1865. It was inspired by Heinrich Hoffmann’s King Nutcracker and Poor Reinhold, a well-known children’s book. When Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker premiered in 1892, he had just begun selling his traditional nutcracker figures. A nutcracker mascot is essential in ballet. Therefore the merchandise immediately became connected with Christmas decor.
What Modern-Day Nutcrackers Look Like?
Although nutcrackers have been around since the late 1800s, the decor trend has recently taken a turn for the better. Searches for nutcrackers have climbed by more than 60% in the last five years, according to Google Trends, and there are more than 96,000 photos of them on Instagram. We attribute this upsurge of interest to the current resurgence of vintage decor styles, such as nutcrackers and porcelain trees, which have become so popular.
This video demonstrates the working German nutcracker vs. knock-off low-quality nutcrackers.
Here are some of my favorite options if you’re feeling motivated to get in on the action.
Nutcrackers with a Candy Theme
Two famous Christmas treats adorn this modern nutcracker set: one is painted like a candy cane, while the other is painted like a gingerbread biscuit. Two 8-inch nutcrackers are included in the $10 price and can be displayed alone or as a set.
This modern spin on classic figures is fantastic, and Target has a slew of them available. White and gold nutcracker measures 14 inches tall and is decorated with a glimmering gold outfit and gold-trimmed cape.
Visit Christkindl LIVE for more information on Christmas nutcrackers.
There are so many themed nutcrackers on the market that most people choose to buy a new one instead of going to a thrift store or digging around in Grandma’s cellar. Decorate your kitchen with a gingerbread chef nutcracker this year. Put a batch of homemade gingerbread cookies in the oven if you’re feeling particularly festive.