A Cracking Good Christmas

While Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker enchants people of all ages every winter, some younger viewers might be intrigued by the title. These days the nutcrackers sold for practical purposes are largely identical to common household pliers, but it wasn’t always so. Traditionally nutcrackers were highly decorative items, which were placed proudly on a dinner table towards the end of a meal. The nut was placed in a hole and the diner pressed a lever to crack it. By the 15th Century, Germany had established itself as the home of the world’s most desirable nutcrackers, which were made in the form of people, often soldiers, hence the Nutcracker Prince who gave his title to the Nutcracker ballet. For collectors, the most famous and desirable nutcrackers are those made by the Steinbach family of Erzgebirge in Germany, who have been producing world-famous traditional wooden nutcrackers for almost two centuries. Part of their success is down to the popularity of nutcrackers themselves and part of it to the quality and originality of their creations. Today they send nutcrackers to collectors all over the world and most particularly to countries where there are large populations with German ancestry such as in Australia. For humans travelling to Australia, using the services of a German NAATI translator is a good place to start.