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The History Of Nutcrackers

Nutcracker Red

Most people are familiar with the famous Nutcracker dolls. These dolls look like toy soldiers and are known for their wide mouths that open to crack nuts. You always see these dolls during the Christmas season. You may have even received one as a gift. But what is the history behind these famous dolls?


The 14th Century 

The nutcracker dolls actually go back all the way to the 14th century. Various tools have been invented to crack the hard shell of nuts. In the beginning, these tools were fairly mechanical and designed to fit their main purpose. They were made out of various metals or wood.


The cracking of nuts was celebrated in many European countries during the holidays. These tools came into the hands of the Germans. The Germans already had soldier dolls that were known to symbolize good luck.

Christmas nutcracker toy soldier and balerina dolls on the stage. Famous Russian Ballet installation.

It is said that one toymaker in Germany had combined both the toy soldier dolls with the functionality of the nutcracker. If you visit a Christmas store, you’ll be able to find a variety of nutcracker dolls with this specific functionality. It’s a novel gift and decoration that people purchase during the holidays.


The Idea Takes Off 

The idea of this novel toy took off. German toymakers would travel to other parts of Europe and sell these nutcracker dolls that were made out of wood. As people became receptive to these dolls, several companies would be created to manufacture these dolls in factories.

Makes it Entrance in North America in 20th Century 

But despite the invention of this unique toy that cracked nutshells, it wasn’t popular in America until the first world war. American soldiers stationed in Germany purchased these dolls and sent them home as gifts. These nutcracker dolls would go on to be very popular in North America. Today, you can find a wide variety of them sold at your local Christmas store.


That’s a short history of how the famous Nutcracker dolls came to be. The Germans came up with a novel way to combine the functionality of cracking nutshells with a common doll in German culture. People became receptive to this novel design and it would become associated with Christmas.


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