The modern ornamental nutcracker emerged in 19th Century Germany, with wooden figures resembling soldiers, kings, miners, and more. These became associated with Christmas with the 1892 debut of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite ballet, which became a holiday tradition. U.S. GI's brought German nutcrackers home during WW2, spurring a wave of collecting. And several makers, such as Steinbach, have produced limited editions that are highly collectible.


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