Nutty Fun with Life-size Nutcrackers

Life-size nutcracker figure

It’s the Christmas season! Look around—everywhere you’ll see snowmen and reindeer, Santa and sparkling trees, flickering candles and charmingly stoic toy soldiers decked out in red, green, and gold—not to mention a flurry of festive décor, from miniature scented elf candles to life-size nutcrackers indoors and out!

In past blogs we explored the surprising origin of giant nutcracker Christmas decorations and the evolution of the beloved nutcracker figure over the decades. To recap, back in the Middle Ages the humble nutcracker began life as a plain, purely functional nut-cracking implement for the kitchen. Soon, clever German craftsmen began fashioning them into dolls—still functional but more fun and festive.

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The Historical Sources of Outdoor Toy Soldiers at Christmastime

Les Ballets de Noël

Though it may seem somewhat peculiar at first glance—if not downright counterintuitive—the association of outdoor toy soldiers with Christmas is now well established in western cultures. Proof of that fact can be found in the sudden appearance of giant toy soldier decorations on front lawns and in shopping malls nationwide when the Christmas season rolls around.

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The Surprising Origin of Giant Nutcracker Christmas Decorations

Two Giant Nutcrackers guarding building entrance

When it’s time to seek out new decorations for the Christmas holiday, we might visit stores or browse online in search of those regal, festive figures, the nutcrackers. Often dressed in red, green, and gold, they stand ready to perform their duty, be it crack a bowl full of roasted chestnuts as part of a party snack or grace a holly-covered mantle near the sparkling Christmas tree. And not only are nutcrackers crafted in “snack” size, these days there are stately giant nutcrackers found in holiday displays all over, from North to South, East to West, heralding the season on snow-covered stretches or warm, sunny lawns.
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