The All-American Folk Art Nutcracker


The VIRGINIA SHOPPER has concluded that people first cracked nuts with stones.  Have you ever tried to crack a walnut with your teeth?  Bad idea!  But really – excavators have actually found tooth-pitted nutshells dating back to 8,000 years ago.

Mary Myers Santa in Long Johns Nutcracker

Nowadays simple nutcrackers are not only found in our homes, but are available as sophisticated, designer collector’s items sought after for special occasions and home décor.  And would you believe there are Nutcracker Legends?

–         Once upon a time there was a rich, mean farmer who promised a reward to anyone who would crack his walnuts.  So, a carver came and surprised the farmer with a wonderful wooden toy that was painted in bright colors and had strong jaws that were powerful enough to crack the walnuts.  The farmer was so happy, he rewarded the entire village.

Robert E. Lee Nutcracker

Fox Hunt Fox Nutcracker

–          German legend has it that nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck. They represented power and strength and would serve a family faithfully to protect them from thieves and danger. 

George Washington Nutcracker

–          A great love of nutcrackers emerged from The Nutcracker Suite, the fairy tale ballet that inspired families around the world.  The beloved ballet brings soldier nutcrackers to life and makes them heroes of the day.

In addition to the influence of German Christmas ornaments, modern nutcrackers also echo the primitive look of early American folk art.  They make excellent gifts for special occasions.  Many are numbered and signed.

Over 6,000 Mary Myers Nutcrackers (some of which you see here that are available at Virginia Born and Bred)  have been hand carved and crafted in this fashion.

CONCLUSION:   If  one of these beautifully designed handmade wooden nutcrackers doesn’t ferociously guard your home, or add appeal to your decorating efforts, or remind you of a Christmas ballet, then it can still do one thing well and probably better than using two stones.  IT CAN ACTUALLY CRACK NUTS!

The items pictured here are all available online or off from Virginia Born and Bred.

”Til We Meet Again – The VIRGINIA SHOPPER

This entry was posted in Christmas, Folk Art, Seasons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The All-American Folk Art Nutcracker

  1. Lucia says:

    Really liked this post. Gave me fond memories of my mother’s collection & her displaying them, which I luckily inherited. Some beautiful antique pieces.


  2. Pingback: Nutcracker Ballet « North Carolina "Homeschool-ology"

  3. Pingback: A Hard Nut to Crack: The origins of a much-loved wooden Christmas figure « Tales from the Basement

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