Think back to the Christmases of your childhood. Did you sit behind frost-glazed windowpanes reminding yourself how lucky you were to be snuggled in front of a warm, crackling hearth? Maybe a beautiful Hawaiian vacation was your family's tradition. When the doorbell rang, were you eager to see which relative or friend was waiting on the doorstep, or did you shush each other and hide until whoever it was finally gave up and went away? Chances are good, roasted turkey aromas wafted deliciously from the oven, and you spent most of the holidays stuffing your mouth with peanut butter balls and pretzels dipped in almond bark. However you spent the holidays, we're willing to bet the Christmas tree was always the prettiest you had ever seen; the lights were always the twinkliest you had ever hung; and a nutcracker soldier always completed the fireplace mantle.
The brings us back to simpler times when Christmas was the work of elves and swirling snowflakes. The nutcracker craft started in Germany when mine workers sought handiwork during the off-season. They made little wooden statues of people, usually soldiers, and gave a purpose to the little piece by including a small lever disguised as the mouth of the wooden statue. This small lever would bring amusement to the tedious task of breaking nuts. During World War II, American soldiers were completely taken by the wholesome charm of the handmade Christmas soldier nutcracker. Thus, a tradition was born.
By the 1950's, Christmas just wasn't complete without a red soldier nutcracker sitting beside a bowl of assorted nuts. Over the years, the appearance of the Christmas nutcracker has evolved somewhat. It is now common to collect several variations of the Christmas nutcracker. A wide variety of styles now accommodate the tastes of many different enthusiasts. Whether you want the traditional red-suited soldier, a Santa bearing gifts, crowned kings, tennis players, dentists (and everything in between), there is a nutcracker to tickle your fancy.
Nutcrackers are great collectibles. Buying one Christmas nutcracker each season is a fun way to build a collection, and a heart-warming way to make each season unforgettable. Consider allowing each family member to have his or her own nutcracker - a little treasure they can unwrap each year and put in their own special place.
In the middle of a Christmas-season whirlwind, it's nice to remember simpler things. Bring a touch of togetherness and simplicity to your home. Make collecting Christmas nutcrackers a tradition for your family.