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Christmas Russian Nesting Dolls -- Nesting Doll Collections

Updated on November 27, 2012

Russian Nesting Doll Collection

When I was 14, I was fortunate enough to spend my summer in Russia with my parents. While there, we visited a factory that made Russian nesting dolls and I fell in love with them. I loved the fact that you got a whole "family" of dolls in one package, and enjoyed the anticipation of opening the largest doll to see how many were nestled inside. I also loved the artistry that went into making nesting dolls. These weren't just plastic dolls with dimpled cheeks and fluttery eyes; they had intricate designs painted on them in a whirwind of colors and patterns.

I still have the Russian nesting dolls that I purchased in Russia, and proudly display them in our living room hutch (even though our cat, Maya, is always trying to bat at them). Though I prefer collecting traditional Russian dolls, as opposed to novelty nesting dolls, I've received some interesting ones as gifts. My parents even have a past Russian leaders set of nesting dolls in their home!

While Russian dolls are something that can be collected all year round, they're perfect for Christmas. Because nesting dolls open into so many different parts, you can easily display a line of Santas across your mantle or add a row of snowmen to your dinner table.

Christmas Russian Dolls

In addition to making great decorations, Christmas Nesting Dolls are perfect for putting in a stocking. Because they're so compact, they'll easily fit inside -- and then your gift ends up being several presents in one!

I don't personally own any Christmas-themed nesting dolls, but the ones I do have out (over 100 at this point) are definite conversation starters. People always want to know where I got them and love to fit them back into each other ... and then take them apart again. They almost always grab my guests' attention, I guess because there are so many of them and so beautiful. That said, putting out some Russian dolls is a surefire way to make your holiday decor stand out from the other homes.

The History Of Traditional Russian Nesting Dolls

In Russia, these stacked dolls are known as "matryoshka," which means mother. This is certainly understandable given that the "mother" doll houses several others inside.

Believe it or not, these creations have been around since 1890 ... and are rumored to have originated in Japan! During this time, Russian artisans would meet and work together, and as the story goes, one brought in a Japanese doll that had several smaller dolls stacked inside. However, the Japanese claim that their doll was inspired by one made by a Russian monk!

Whatever their true origins are, they're a symbol in Russia and are now sold in nearly ever store. In the past, a nesting doll "family" would consist of male and female dolls, but these days, the most well-known have brightly-decorated female figurines. Some are so large, they house up to 70 or more smaller dolls!

Russian Doll Dance

Novelty Nesting Dolls

Like I said, I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to my nesting doll collection, but I do have to admire the creativity that went into crafting these novelty Russian dolls. Out of all of them, I think I like the floral pig set the best; the paintings are of the highest quality and they actually look classy. Plus, they're an unusual shape for nesting dolls so they're truly different.

The robot and fairy dolls are a lot of fun and colorful. These would make great gifts to give to a young boy or girl for Christmas. It's like getting several dolls in one! My young niece loves to take our nesting dolls apart and then put them back together, so if you give a set to a little kid, remember that the dolls will probably get worn out. Don't give your children a very expensive set unless you plan to simply put it on display.

The set of penguin nesting dolls are just too cute! One of my good friends is a lover of penguin and literally has hundreds of penguin figurines. Last Christmas, he had a penguin display that was so involved it looked as if he'd been to the Antarctic. But he doesn't have penguin nesting dolls so these would make a great gift from me to him!

How To Make Nesting Dolls


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    • keira7 profile image

      keira7 8 years ago

      Nice hub Naomir. Thanks.

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I gave my daughter some of these last Christmas. She loves them!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 8 years ago from NJ, USA

      I was always fascinated by these dolls - my Nana had a set back in England and I always tried to figure out how they were made! Excellent hub thanks!