Nutcracker ornaments have been associated with the Christmas holiday for years. Nuts are a common food during Christmas and most homes will have tools they use to crack nuts. The nutcracker in the form of a man actually came from the nutcracker tool that was developed centuries ago. Nutcrackers became popular in the United States in the 1950s, but to really understand the history of the Nutcracker, you have to go back thousands of years when the tool was first created.
Nutcrackers used to crack nuts and nutcrackers in the shape of men look very different, but the decorations actually evolved from early tools used to crack nuts. Before nutcrackers were invented, people in ancient times used rocks to crack open nuts. Nutcrackers were eventually created out of metal and iron by the 15th century. Nutcrackers were popular in European countries. These people started making nutcrackers more complex by carving people and animals out of wood. Corkscrew nutcrackers came along next. Countries such as France, England and Switzerland created various designs using these materials. However, it was Germany that first created the soldier nutcrackers that are so popular today.
The first human shaped nutcrackers debuted in Germany in the early 1800s. Nutcrackers were called Nussknackers. The wooden nutcrackers were in the shape of men and were usually soldiers or kings. They wore uniforms, hats and often had a beard. Nuts were placed in the mouth of the nutcracker and then broken by using a lever. Wilhelm Füchtner is credited as the man who began marketing nutcrackers as decorations and collectibles. Many nutcrackers are created in Germany, and in other locations all over the world. Old designs can also be found in museums.
The tradition of nutcrackers is more complex than a tool used to crack nuts. Nutcrackers have always made a great gift and are given as a good luck charm. They are also said to protect you and bring happiness. Nutcrackers have been part of popular culture as well. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was a story that E.T. Amadeus Hoffman wrote in the early 1800s. It was also turned into a ballet by Tchaikovsky. The ballet is performed by schools, community groups and professional ballerinas every year at Christmas time. Nutcrackers are a popular collectible and are a part of many homes at Christmas time.
Nutcrackers appeared thousands of years ago, but they are still a part of life today. Nutcrackers have evolved and changed tremendously over the years. Because of creativity, crafters and intelligent inventors, nutcrackers play a role in society, especially during the Christmas season. Nutcrackers are an attractive decoration and add beauty to any home at Christmas.