Blog Home

Nutcrackers! A Holiday Tradition

a variety of nutcrackers

Happy Holidays from Nantucket Gate Blog! With holiday break approaching, we thought it would be fun to give you a bit of history on one of the most prominent holiday decorations: the nutcracker. Take a moment this week in your Tacoma, WA apartment or wherever you’re spending the break to read up on the origins of this popular holiday symbol. 

Nutcrackers were originally functional wooden tools designed for cracking nuts, and the makers would sometimes carve them into whimsical characters. Eventually, the functionality was secondary, and the dolls became decorative, yet retained the visual jaw-dropping function of cracking nuts. One story about the origin of nutcrackers places them in the German Ore Mountains (German: Erzgebirge) region, where a craftsman from Seiffen carved them. Wilhelm Friedrich Füchtner, known in Germany as the “father of the nutcracker,” was instrumental in the popularization of the novelty. They became popular as gifts and by the mid 1800s were being produced in factories.

Nutcrackers were a European thing until after the Second World War, when soldiers came home with them for souvenirs. The story, The  Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by Hoffman was adapted as a ballet, The Nutcracker, also played an important part in boosting the popularity of nutcrackers in America. Today nutcrackers are often featured as holiday decorations and are collector's items. 

Nutcrackers come in all sorts — from inexpensive discount soldiers to handmade German pieces, ranging from soldiers to storybook characters, to famous people and everything in between. A quick google search will yield dozens of examples. So for a bit of holiday tradition, add one to your apartment decor this holiday season. 

Today nutcrackers are often featured as holiday decorations and are collector's items. Christmas Treasures carries the Steinbach line of nutcrackers, and you can also find high-end German-made nutcrackers at Erzgebirge-Palace

Thanks for reading our post today! May your holidays be merry and bright