The Nutcracker was traditionally an item used to crack the shells of the whole nuts that people had out on display. When the useful tool started to be fashioned into dolls that we used to decorate our homes at Christmas time some people thought this was creepy, and other people simply thought this was traditional Christmas décor.
The 7 Creepiest Nutcrackers Doll Became a Holiday Tradition Began in Germany
The tradition of the Nutcracker doll seems to have originated in Germany. The little dolls were given as keepsake pieces to people that you wanted to have good luck, good health, and good fortune in the coming year. Legend has it that the little wooden pieces were supposed to provide protection to your home from all sorts of dangers and evil spirits.
The Nutcracker was supposed to be able to open its mouth and bare its teeth at the evil spirits that enter the house and this would fill the spirits with fear and they would flee from the home.
It has been said that the Nutcracker was used at dinner parties as decoration, amusement, and a practical tool for cracking the shells of the nuts served along with the dessert courses. Small Nutcracker dolls were placed beside every place setting so the guest could crack the pecans and hazelnuts that often came with the dessert course.
Nutcrackers in America
In the United States, the tradition of the Nutcracker doll did not start to catch on until the 50s. During the Second World War, many of the American soldiers were introduced to the wooden nutcracker dolls at the “Kristkrinle Market”. The soldiers found that the little wooden dolls were very sturdy and they often bought the items to use. Then when the soldiers went home their nutcrackers accompanied them back the United States.
Which came first the Ballet or the Doll?
The nutcracker doll was established long before Tchaikovsky’s ballet premiered in 1892. The ballet did, however, increase the popularity of these little wooden items and the nutcrackers were suddenly sought after as prime collectibles.
The majority of collectible nutcracker dolls have been created by the Steinbach family. Before the Steinbach family began to craft these dolls the majority of them were designed to represent kings and the people, military figures, and members of the highest social class. The Steinbach dolls were often designed to represent items from German fairy tales and whimsical creatures. This diversity caused the little dolls to become more valuable as collectibles, and caused them to appeal to a wider range of the people.
The real value to the nutcracker dolls as collectibles was born when the Steinbach family started to make limited edition pieces. They would craft a specific number of one doll design and then break the mold so no more of that design was created.
The limited edition pieces are sought after as very valuable collector items. Especially the first limited edition piece, which was a replica of King Ludwig II. Only 3000 of those dolls were produced.