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Nutcrackers Buying Guide

Immortalized by the famous ballet The Nutcracker, nutcrackers have a much longer history as holiday decorations. Because of the ballet's popularity, nutcrackers continue to be a unique addition to a variety of spots in the home. Some can be quite valuable, while others are appreciated for their unique style.

Types of Nutcrackers

Types of Nutcrackers

As with virtually every holiday decorating element, nutcrackers are available in a range of types. Some are functional, like the nutcrackers created for households centuries ago, while others are purely decorative. The types of figures depicted by the nutcracker have also changed over the years, as have the materials used to create them and artistic style. Whatever your preferences, there is a nutcracker to complement your holiday decor.

Material

Many nutcrackers are carved out of wood, and some of the most prized are still created in Germany by a small number of artisans. Still others are made from metal, while some decorative versions are crafted from porcelain, glass, or other materials.

Style

Styles of nutcrackers vary from folk art-inspired to highly detailed and intricate. Some nutcrackers are elaborately painted and have fabric accents, while others are unpainted.

Figure Type

Centuries ago, most nutcrackers were created as soldiers, kings, and knights. Today's nutcrackers represent a much broader spectrum of personalities, including Santa Claus and historical figures.

Decorative vs. Functional

Many nutcrackers are designed as simple holiday decorating accents, while some serve their original intent: cracking nuts.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Nutcrackers vary widely in creation, and their origins certainly affect price. Before you purchase a nutcracker, investigate any care requirements, including its sensitivity to light and heat. You should also consider size in relation to its placement in your home, as well as any storage needs the nutcracker may have. All those purchase considerations will affect your enjoyment of the nutcracker.

Care

Many wooden nutcrackers are fairly easy to clean with a dust cloth; others may have finish elements, such as hand painting, that require special care.

Size

From petite to nearly life-size, nutcrackers can be found in all sizes. Before making a purchase, consider where you will place your nutcracker.

Storage

Many nutcrackers of small to medium size can be safely stored in protective wrapping and containers. Larger or more delicate nutcrackers may require additional shelf space and preservative boxes.

Holiday on sale
Ulbricht
$137.98 $195.99
at Hayneedle

Product Summary Let an Ulbricht Limited Edition Toy Soldier Nutcracker stand guard over your decorations this holiday season. Perf...ect to accent your current collection or to start a new one, this little soldier stands 18 1/2 inches tall and is ready for action. He is made of wood and painted into a brown jacket and natural wood pants. His black hat has a white plume adorning the top. He holds a spear in one hand and around his neck hangs a key reminiscent of a tin solider in need of winding.Specially hand-made German nutcracker Each piece is exclusively hand-painted Vintage Ulbricht tradition dates back 300 years Accented uniform with braid-decorated shoulder pads Height measures 18.5 in. Whats Included NutcrackerDescription The Story of Ulbricht Wood-turning on lathes, the Ulbricht grand tradition, can be traced back to the small German mining town of Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from the 1700s. Otto Ulbricht, a professional wood turner who started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, near Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. When Otto died in 1968, his son Christian Ulbricht, now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian brought back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations. Now in its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line nutcrackers, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter. Traditions are very important to Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years. read more

Ulbricht Limited Edition Toy Soldier Nutcracker
Simply Steinbach
$141.29 $199.00
at Casa

Kurt Adler Troll Blue King Nutcracker 11-3/4 Part of Steinbachs collection of troll sized nutcrackers, this piece features a king ...in a wonderfully-appropriate regal blue and gold outfit, complete with a golden crown, sceptor, and collar. His blue tunic is embellished with a golden crown pattern. Like all of Steinbachs creations, he is crafted in Germany with the finest care and attention to detail. Made in germany Wooden steinbach nutcracker Crafted with the finest care and attention to detail read more

Kurt Adler Troll Blue King Nutcracker 11-3/4
Ulbricht
$82.98 $128.99
at Hayneedle

Product Summary This hand-made and hand-painted German Santa nutcracker brings his own bit of cheer to any family gathering or par...ty. Anyone would be thrilled to receive this adorable and functional holiday staple. The traditional red and white soldier dons a santa hat, a bag of goodies, black boots and holds a Christmas tree in this unique version of the classic figure. Place it prominently on a mantle or shelf or offer its use beside a bowl of nuts at every holiday gathering.Hand-made and hand-painted German Santa nutcracker Bright carved wood construction with gifts and cheer Grinning red Santa nutcracker for the festive season Mounted on a base, the nutcracker stands 12 in. tall Whats Included NutcrackerDescription The Santa Nutcracker comes bearing gifts and good cheer. This grinning fellow in traditional red and white holds a bag of goodies in one hand and a diminutive Christmas tree in the other. Nutcrackers make wonderful presents; both charming and functional, these familiar holiday staples bring charm and delight to the holidays. Display them on a shelf for that festive touch, or get the party started by cracking open a selection of seasonal nuts. Hand-crafted from solid wood, this nutcracker has been hand-painted in Germany with a vibrant array of colors. It stands 12 inches tall. Spruce up your own holiday decorations with this fresh take on a genuine classic, or present your loved one, neighbor, or colleague with a timeless and unforgettable gift. The Story of Ulbricht Wood-turning on lathes, the Ulbricht grand tradition, can be traced back to the small German mining town of Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from the 1700s. Otto Ulbricht, a professional wood turner who started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, near Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. When Otto died in 1968, his son Christian Ulbricht, now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian brought back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations. Now in its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line nutcrackers, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter. Traditions are very important to Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years. read more

Ulbricht Santa Nutcracker
Ulbricht
$93.50 $147.00
at Wayfair

Are you looking for a perfect holiday decoration that promises to impress? Look no further than Christian Ulbricht Nutcrackers whi...ch are exquisitely constructed and offer a new and creative spin on the traditional holiday favorite. This line of nutcrackers offers specific options for every interest! The Green Uniform Cub Scout Nutcracker is finely crafted and hand painted! Features:Green Uniform Cub Scout Nutcracker Nutcracker is finely crafted and hand painted! Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 10 Inches Overall Product Weight: 0.9 Pounds read more

Green Uniform Cub Scout Nutcracker
Horizons East
$49.99 $69.99
at Hayneedle

About Horizons East Established in 1974, Horizons East continues to build on over 30 years of experience in creating quality holid...ay gift items. They specialize in music boxes and wooden nutcrackers and have taken the lead in these key markets. Offering an extensive selection backed by strict quality control, Horizons East is well-positioned to meet the needs of discriminating collectors and casual customers alike. read more

Velvet Prince Nutcracker
Ulbricht
$153.98 $201.99
at Hayneedle

Topped with an old-fashioned Tyrolean hat, the Bavarian Nutcracker exudes good humor. This colorful character is clad in tradition...al lederhosen, holding a large stein in one hand and a turnip in the other. Nutcrackers make wonderful presents; both charming and functional, these familiar holiday staples bring charm and delight to the holidays. Display them on a shelf for that festive touch, or get the party started by cracking open a selection of seasonal nuts. Hand-crafted from solid wood, this nutcracker has been hand-painted in Germany with a vibrant array of colors. It stands 16.5 inches tall. Spruce up your own holiday decorations with this fresh take on a genuine classic, or present your loved one, neighbor, or colleague with a timeless and unforgettable gift. The Story of Ulbricht Wood-turning on lathes, the Ulbricht grand tradition, can be traced back to the small German mining town of Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from the 1700s. Otto Ulbricht, a professional wood turner who started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, near Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. When Otto died in 1968, his son Christian Ulbricht, now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian brought back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations. Now in its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line nutcrackers, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter. Traditions are very important to Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years. read more

Ulbricht Bavarian Nutcracker
Ulbricht
$154.98 $197.99
at Hayneedle

The Story of Ulbricht Wood-turning on lathes, the Ulbricht grand tradition, can be traced back to the small German mining town of ...Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from the 1700s. Otto Ulbricht, a professional wood turner who started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, near Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. When Otto died in 1968, his son Christian Ulbricht, now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian brought back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations. Now in its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line nutcrackers, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter. Traditions are very important to Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years. read more

Ulbricht Natural Bavarian Nutcracker
Ulbricht
$164.46 $214.99
at Hayneedle

Fans of the ballet will love the Herr Drosselmeyer Nutcracker. This perennial favorite appears dapper here, clad in a top hat and ...cloak, and bearing a gift for Clara. Nutcrackers make wonderful presents; both charming and functional, these familiar holiday staples bring charm and delight to the holidays. Display them on a shelf for that festive touch, or get the party started by cracking open a selection of seasonal nuts. Hand-crafted from solid wood, this nutcracker has been hand-painted in Germany with a vibrant array of colors. It stands 15.5 inches tall. Spruce up your own holiday decorations with this fresh take on a genuine classic, or present your loved one, neighbor, or colleague with a timeless and unforgettable gift. The Story of Ulbricht Wood-turning on lathes, the Ulbricht grand tradition, can be traced back to the small German mining town of Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from the 1700s. Otto Ulbricht, a professional wood turner who started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, near Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. When Otto died in 1968, his son Christian Ulbricht, now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian brought back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations. Now in its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line nutcrackers, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter. Traditions are very important to Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years. read more

Ulbricht Traditional Drosselmeyer Nutcracker
Simply Steinbach
$232.90 $305.99
at Hayneedle

The Steinbach Irish Santa German Christmas Nutcracker continues the delightful tradition of Santa with an Irish twist. Here are th...e recognizable bag of toys and gifts for good boys and girls, but this Santa's bag is decorated with gold and green. A festive puffy hat and gold-and-green holiday attire complete his holiday look. The Irish Santa stands at 11.5 inches tall. This piece is made of genuine, high-quality wood, has been hand-carved in Germany, and is completely painted in freehand. With the optionally available hand-signed edition by Karla Steinbach, this is a true collectors item and just plain wonderful for any home's holiday display About Steinbach Steinbach is recognized for the unique design of its wood-carved creations developed many years ago by Herr Christian Steinbach. The Steinbach family started making nutcrackers and other items in the 1800s in the Alpine regions of Germany. The tradition of creating hand-carved Steinbach German Nutcrackers is carried on by the Steinbach family, which remains responsible for the product concept development, design, manufacture, and quality control at the Hohenhameln factory in the northern region of Germany. Steinbach items are highly collectible. If you are starting a new collection or adding to your existing collection, you will love these unique masterpieces. These treasured collectibles are handed down from generation to generation. The Making of Steinbach Nutcrackers Each Steinbach nutcracker is produced using up to 130 separate procedures. Genuine hardwood is cut and shaped into specific sizes and parts. The wood is then turned by hand, using an ancient process that creates smooth, clean surfaces. The pieces are lathed, polished, and drilled before they are turned over to experienced craftsmen who prime and spray them repeatedly, alternating the process with drying to produce an even tone. Carving comes next; wood-carving artisans use knives and finely honed skill to add personality and detail to the pieces. Finally, the painters take over; trained German artists paint these nutcrackers freehand. The result is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind product that is a must-have for collectors and art lovers alike. read more

Steinbach Irish Santa German Christmas Nutcracker
Alexander Taron
$127.99 $160.99
at Hayneedle

Artfully crafted and perfect for display, the Ulbricht Small Forest Ranger Nutcracker depicts a fully outfitted Forest Ranger from... Ulbricht/Seiffener Nussknacker. In his full faux fur cap, this ranger cuts a handsome figure. He is handcrafted in Germany and beautifully finished in natural wood stains. A striking addition to your nutcracker collection, the superb detailing include his luxurious hat, braided cording, and smart rifle. This Forest Ranger is so well-crafted he's sure to become an instant family heirloom. About Alexander Taron, Inc. For more than half a century, the Taron Company has been delighting customers and collectors with traditional European gifts. These exquisite hand-crafted products range from nutcrackers and incense burners to ornaments and cuckoo clocks; unique and collectible, they make unforgettable gifts regardless the occasion. Originally founded in 1949, Alexander Taron remains dedicated to providing high-quality items at great value. read more

Ulbricht Small Forest Ranger Nutcracker
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