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Collectible Types of Nutcrackers for Christmas Displays Plus Nutcracker Ballet

Updated on February 7, 2019
Peggy W profile image

Decorating for Christmas was always fun in December. Church, family, friends, food, and presents were also a part of the holiday spirit.

Nutcracker Christmas ornament
Nutcracker Christmas ornament | Source

Christmas and The Nutcracker

Many people around the world (including us) display new as well as collectible nutcrackers for Christmas decorations. Besides, numerous others would not think the season is complete without attending a Nutcracker Ballet. Are you one of those people?

Numerous types of nutcrackers have originated through the years and as the name implies the majority of them have been devised to more easily access the delicious nutmeats inside those exterior hard shells.

Nuts are a good source of protein and have been used as a food source for probably as long as there have been people roaming the earth. Our animal friends with whom we share this planet also like harvesting and eating nuts.

But for purposes of this post, I am referring to the decorative and collectible type of nutcracker commonly used in Christmas displays more than the useful type of nutcracker.

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Wooden Nutcracker Christmas Decoration Nutcracker made in Seiffen (Germany)
Wooden Nutcracker Christmas Decoration
Wooden Nutcracker Christmas Decoration | Source
 Nutcracker made in Seiffen (Germany)
Nutcracker made in Seiffen (Germany) | Source

Steinbach Nutcrackers

There is a very collectible type of nutcracker relished by people who enjoy quality artistry. Herr Christian Steinbach started carving these unique nutcrackers back in the 1800s in Germany.

Like many wood carvers, this probably started as a hobby but developed into a good source of income. He was considered the "King of Nutcrackers" as to his beautiful designs and well-executed forms of beauty.

Generally, those nutcrackers took the form of wooden soldiers but also portrayed other professions such as knights, kings and more. Today's designs embrace contemporary themes as well as the old.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A group of older wooden nutcrackers, in the shape of soldiers. Photographed at a flea market in Berlin, Germany, 2006.Some NutcrackersCollection of nutcrackers
A group of older wooden nutcrackers, in the shape of soldiers. Photographed at a flea market in Berlin, Germany, 2006.
A group of older wooden nutcrackers, in the shape of soldiers. Photographed at a flea market in Berlin, Germany, 2006. | Source
Some Nutcrackers
Some Nutcrackers | Source
Collection of nutcrackers
Collection of nutcrackers | Source

Typically they are designed with a large mouth with a movable lever in the back where if one inserted a nut in the mouth and operated the bar the nutshell would theoretically crack open giving access to the nut meat inside.

Apparently few people would use these beautifully designed and decorative nutcrackers in that way for fear of scratching or otherwise harming these objects of beauty.

Besides that, given the costs for these heirloom qualities Steinbach nutcrackers, if one needs to crack nutshells, there are indeed less expensive alternatives.

Nutcracker
Nutcracker | Source

At the Hohenhameln factory in the northern region of Germany, six generations of people have followed in Herr Christian Steinbach's footsteps and still produce the beautiful nutcrackers today. There is a wide variety of forms and different subjects for these modern-day nutcrackers but one thing has not changed, and that is quality.

Steinbach nutcrackers are sought to grace the homes and domiciles of people worldwide beautifully and certainly add a distinctive touch to Christmas decorations. Much of what Steinbach creates are limited editions making connoisseurs of these pieces happy to keep adding to their collections.

Nutcracker Ballet

Every year around Christmas time the famous Nutcracker Ballet is performed on stages all across America and probably other places in the world as well.

The very first performance was in Russia. It was not an instant success and loved as it is today.

Nutcracker Ballet
Nutcracker Ballet | Source

Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky wrote the musical score, and many little girls and boys get all dressed up and attend Nutcracker Ballet performances at this time of year with their parents. Many people see it every year over and over again as a holiday tradition.

Cinderella Type Story

It is a type of Cinderella story. At the end of the ballet, the young girl and her handsome prince live happily forever surrounded by fancy surroundings and sweet treats. Before that sweet ending, a doll maker brings toys to the household of two children, and many of his creations become animated and lifelike.

Gingerbread men, tin soldiers, dolls, mice and other combatants add much excitement to the story told on stage. Naturally, since the setting is during the time of Christmas, the decorations are resplendent. A nutcracker turned prince brings this legendary tale to its happy ending.

Every year in Houston the Nutcracker Ballet entertains thousands of people and rings in the Christmas season with the music and images of sugarplum fairies, nutcrackers and more.

What do you think of Nutcrackers and the Nutcracker Ballet?

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Nutcracker Museum

Little did I know when my mother, niece and I visited Leavenworth, Washington (an incredible Bavarian styled village) years ago while on vacation that there is a beautiful Nutcracker Museum there.

Had we known and if we had the extra time it would have been fun to stop in and explore it. At least you readers of this post will now know of its existence if your travels ever take you that way.

Did You Know That There was a Nutcracker Museum?

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Since the Nutcracker Ballet and thoughts of decorating with different types of nutcrackers come to mind every year during the holiday season, I would like to end this post with sincere greetings for a joyous years end and beginning of a happy year to come.

The Nutcracker Animated Story for Children

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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