Most likely, you recognize ornamental German nutscrackers that you’ve seen or recognized throughout your childhood, as a sign of Christmas and the beginning of the Holiday Season. Would you be able to believe that the purpose of these German nuts was to be functional kitchen tools, rather than just for holiday decorations – which most people see them as? In fact, you would most likely be surprised when you see someone open an nut and use any of these Christmas decorations.
The ornamental nutscrackers that are available for purchase aren’t meant for use in your house however, it is also possible to be able to find them in department stores or shopping centers as holiday decorations. They were not used as decoration for Christmas, nor for decorations during the season of Christmas, until the Nutcracker ballet.
In the beginning, nutcrackers were constructed out of metals that resembled a regular pair of pliers. As per the Nutcracker Museum, woodworkers were creating functional and beautiful nutscrackers around the 15th century. The only time it was the latter half of the 19th century that Nutcrackers began to mimic our familiar human forms that you see all over the world.
Wilhelm Fuchtner was a German woodcarver, who was the first person to market and manufacture nutscrackers used in commercial production. It was 1865 when this happened. He was inspired by a character from Heinrich Hoffman’s children’s novels, King Nutcracker or Poor Reinhold. And since the ballet takes place on Christmas Eve, with a nutcracker-turned-hero as the protagonist, it led to the item’s rapid association with holiday decor.