Christmas Nutcracker soldiers are decorative nutcracker statues most commonly made to resemble a toy soldier. It was said that in German tradition, the dolls are symbols of good luck, frightening away malevolent spirits and protecting your home. While nearly all nutcrackers from before the first half of the 20th century were functional, nowadays modern nutcrackers are mostly decorative, and not able to crack nuts (though most kids will still have a go).
The Nutcracker soldier originates from late-17th century Germany. They were often given as gifts, and at some point, they became associated with the Christmas season. They grew in popularity around the 19th century and spread to nearby European countries. Further popularization came from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a ballet adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. A story about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. The ballet, introduced to America during the mid-20th century came about when Marius Petipa had the idea to choreograph the story into a ballet. It was actually based on a revision by Alexander Dumas, a well known French author. His version reflects more of what we have come to love as the Nutcracker Ballet, a favourite holiday tradition across the United States and the world. Which helped make Christmas nutcracker soldiers a Christmas decoration and a seasonal icon across Western culture.
For Australia, a Christmas nutcracker soldier is a beautiful decoration which complements any traditional Christmas theme. We have adapted the soldier as a way of bringing a little whimsy and colour into our homes during the Christmas season. They come in different sizes and shapes and of course every colour of Christmas.
Different designs proliferated early; by the early 19th century there were ones dressed as miners, policemen, royalty or soldiers from different armies. More recent variations have been made to resemble various pop-culture or historical figurines, from Benjamin Franklin to Operation Desert Storm-uniform American soldiers