Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to see a live, professional performance of The Nutcracker Ballet. And, last year, my darling children gifted me with tickets to the Pennsylvania Ballet! Just as I had always imagined, the performance was incredible, the sets and costuming nothing short of spectacular.
Familiar to most, the plotline of The Nutcracker Ballet is loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, penned in 1816. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the ballet by Tchaikovsky was first performed in December 1892. But, it wasn’t until 1954, when George Balanchine resurrected the ballet that he had learned as a student at the Maryinsky Theater, that The Nutcracker truly burst onto the American scene. This breathtaking performance has become a treasured part of a traditional American Christmas ever since!
Unfortunately, since the Pennsylvania Ballet is closed due to the pandemic, this Christmas I guess I will have to be satisfied with a new nutcracker for my growing collection, instead.
Colorful nutcrackers, a ubiquitous symbol of the season, trace their roots to German folklore. Nutcrackers in the shape of birds, animals and people were the norm until the 1600’s when they morphed into the kings and soldiers that we are so familiar with today. These nutcrackers were given to bring luck to a family and to protect the home, keeping watch over the inhabitants and evil spirits at bay.
My own nutcracker collection began with just one small piece that was gifted to me by my mom the Christmas after my college graduation. It quickly grew, and now family and friends vie to find the most unusual pieces to add to the collection. Not only do I have dozens of traditional soldiers, I also display a farmer, a baker, a Viking, a pirate, a cowboy, Uncle Sam, and Sherlock Holmes… among many others!
If you would like to add nutcrackers to your Christmas decorating scheme, it’s quite easy to do. Have just a few? Post your sentries on bookcases, window ledges, or tabletops.
Have a bunch? Nutcrackers work well massed, in varying heights. They can march along a mantel, stand guard over a sideboard, or add height, color and whimsy to a dining tablescape.
Have so many you aren’t sure what to do? (Yes, I fall into this category!) Add them to porch décor, line a staircase, or incorporate small pieces onto a wreath or swag.
I’ve included some of my favorite photos for inspiration. Happy decorating!
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DISCLAIMER: No financial compensation was received for this Nutcracker Collection post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be beneficial for my readers.
Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style and was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com. You’ll find everything from fashion, jewelry, beauty and accessories, to gorgeous gardens and stunning interiors and DIY projects, plus the latest ideas events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!
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