- Holidays and Celebrations»
Collectible Types of Nutcrackers for Christmas Displays Plus Nutcracker Ballet
Christmas and The Nutcracker
Many people around the world (including us) display new as well as collectible nutcrackers for Christmas decorations. In addition numerous others would not think the season is complete without attending a Nutcracker Ballet.
Are you one of those people?
There are numerous types of nutcrackers that have been developed through the years and as the name implies the majority of them have been devised to more easily access the delicious nut meats 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. Different types of nuts are also relished by our animal friends with whom we share this planet.
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 utilitarian type of nutcracker.
This is a very collectible type of nutcracker relished by people who enjoy quality workmanship. Herr Christian Steinbach started carving these unique nutcrackers back in the 1800s in Germany.
Like many wood carvers this probably started out 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.
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 lever the nutshell would theoretically crack open giving access to the nut meat inside.
Obviously 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 quality Steinbach nutcrackers if one really needs to crack nutshells there are certainly less expensive alternatives.
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 lovely nutcrackers today. There is a wide variety of forms and varying subjects for these modern day nutcrackers but one thing has not changed and that is quality.
Steinbach nutcrackers are sought to beautifully grace the homes and domiciles of people worldwide 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.
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.
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.
In fact many people see it every year over and over again as a holiday tradition.
Cinderella Type Story
This 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. Prior to 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 being told on stage. Naturally since it is set during the time of Christmas the decorations are resplendent. A nutcracker turned prince brings this imaginary 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?
Little did I know when my mother, niece and I visited Leavenworth, Washington (a great Bavarian styled village) years ago while on vacation that there is a wonderful 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?
The Nutcracker Animated Story for Children
Since the Nutcracker Ballet and thoughts of decorating with different types of nutcrackers comes to mind every year during the holiday season I would like to end this post with sincere greetings for a joyful years end and beginning of a happy year to come.
© 2010 Peggy Woods