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Wooden nutcrackers can become an obsession

Updated on September 29, 2010

There is something magical about nutcrackers, especially at Christmas-time. That is, those nutcrackers carved in the shape of a soldier, a king, a knight; the same nutcrackers used in the ballet The Nutcracker. They add a festive touch to any home and are always interesting to look at since there are so many designs. These days, nutcrackers can be athletes, bakers, waiters, or whatever profession the designer can think of.

While they are different, all nutcrackers have their similarities; the handlebar moustache, the long hair, the hat or crown, the pencil thin nose and of course the large teeth and the lever behind that opens and closes the mouth. However, these nutcrackers are not meant to crack any nuts, they are purely decorative.  In addition to these features, the nutcracker is usually holding something in his right hand; a sword is the most frequent appendage, but it can be holding whatever is related to the overall design.  Nutcrackers come in any size, from larger than life to ones small enough to hang on a Christmas tree.

My nutcracker collection
My nutcracker collection

The nutcrackers we know today have a long history, dating as far back as the 1600s in Germany. It became a cottage industry in Germany and was the only way many could make a living in their small towns. The most famous and coveted nutcrackers are made by Steinbach in Germany. Now nutcrackers are mass manufactured around the world. However, there are still those who make handcrafted nutcrackers. Glen Crider of Mechanicsville, Virginia is the most well-known maker of nutcrackers in the US. He started off as a clock-maker but eventually began making toys and then nutcrackers. There is also a nutcracker museum in Leavenworth, Washington.

Nutcrackers first came to world-wide prominence in 1816 when E.T.A. Hoffman wrote a children’s book based on a nutcracker he had bought.The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was an instant hit; it also inspired the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky and the ballet based on that music. Nutcrackers are still popular today, maybe even more so. In 2008, the US postal service issued a stamp featuring the nutcracker designs of Glen Crider.


Nutcrackers have become a sort of obsession of mine. I buy at least one nutcracker a year; this year I bought three. I love how they look spread around my apartment. Although, when cleaning up this year I noticed that they look more stunning when all grouped together on one table. My current favorite nutcracker is the one wearing a beret, holding a bottle of wine and a loaf of French bread.

 I don’t know what it is that draws me to nutcrackers. I love to see the different designs that people come up with. Of course, on my budget I pick up most of my nutcrackers at places like Wal-Mart or Zellers. I would love to have one made either by Steinbach or by Glen Crider (if anyone wants to donate to my nutcracker fund please send money to my paypal account). My ideal nutcracker would be a writer nutcracker, holding a pen and a notebook. I haven’t come across one of those yet but I will keep on searching.

Whether you like nutcrackers or not, you have to admit that they help to brighten up any décor.

From CBS Sunday Morning


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I also think that the way you make NutCrackers are absolutely amazing and clever. From Abby AgAiN

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Hello my name is Abby, I am 8 and a half.

    I love Nut Crakers. on Christmas Eve I carefully it on the shimmering tree and it looked amazing. I have watched the movie now and then. But I have always had a feeling that they can come to life. Please reply.. If not it's alright. From Abby

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 

    6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

    Uninvited Writer,

    I love CBS Sunday Morning. Fascinating - 2 days to weeks! I just started collecting porcelain dolls with ice skates. Holidays give us the liberty to "collect" things. The holidays look so much more joyous with collections.

    Fantastic hub - thank you very much!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Handmade nutcrackers are some of the best things to collect.. I understand the obsession of collecting them can have because I have it! lol

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I absolutely love nutcrackers! Great information and I really liked the video too!

  • Gemsong profile image

    Madalain Ackley 

    8 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

    I have yet to say the word 'nutcracker' with a straight face. My mind lives in the gutter. I had a few on my tree. One lost his arm. So sad.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    I have a thing for nutcrackers. Nice information.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I don't have those kinds. Mine are all old brass and or cast iron ones. I will see what I can do about finding a writer one for you.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    Maybe you and Bob could loan out your magnets and nutcrackers - start a swapping system....too funny. I actually cycle them between the fridge in the garage and the one in the house to keep him happy - can't do TOO much with the nutcrackers except pull them out and put them back!

  • bearclawmedia profile image


    8 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

    We are all obsessed

  • janiek13 profile image

    Mary Krenz 

    8 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

    How cute, I never really thought much about nutcrackers.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I think it's a wonderful obsession to have! They really are amazing, I agree, thanks, kimberly

  • alekhouse profile image

    Nancy Hinchliff 

    8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

    I know what you mean about nutcrackers being obsessive. They really asre so charming. I have a friend that has a whole house full of them. We used to think she was crazy, but I sort of understand the obsession now.

  • SweetiePie profile image


    8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I do not own a nutcracker, but I understand the fridge magnet thing. Actually I have made several crossed stitched magnets, and now it is beginning to get out of control.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Your husband and I sound perfect for each other ;) I have a fridge covered in magnets.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    Awesome - my husband is a nutcracker well....NUT! He had to buy these 2 HUGE ones from Costco a few years ago and they are about the size of a 4-year-old....we decided not to put them up with the 70-pound puppy this year as I had a feeling he would take a bite out of one of them or try to tackle them thinking they were kids! Of course we have every size down from that as is too hilarious but they do add a festive touch....Bob is forbidden from buying anymore for a while....that and magnets for the fridge. Cheers....Audrey

  • profile image

    Nelle Hoxie 

    8 years ago

    Well, I know what to get you for Christmas next year.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I know Doctor Who, big fan, been a fan since I was a kid :)

  • KCC Big Country profile image


    8 years ago from Central Texas

    I had to chuckle when I read this hub. I have a "cute" way that I get on my daughter and husband's nerves....for the Darleks' on Doctor Who (British TV series) I refer to them as the "little robot dudes". Then, for nutcrackers, I refer to them as the "little soldier-looking dudes". :) Just thought I'd share. :)

    I can see where they could become addictive to collect.


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