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Nutcrackers: a December Tradition

Nutcrackers - KyneWynn's.jpg

For Americans all over the country, including many in Oneonta, NY, December means an annual visit to see the Nutcracker ballet. Tchaikovsky’s music whisks us away to a land of enchantment as we follow Clara, Herr Drosselmeyer, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and of course the titular, Nutcracker. The nutcracker, a gift for Clara, brought by Herr Drosselmeyer, a talented toymaker, harks back to the actual beginnings of toy nutcrackers, and today, The Hillside Commons Blog has a brief history of nutcrackers as well info about the upcoming, local performance. 

A Brief History of Nutcrackers 

Nutcrackers were originally functional wooden tools designed for cracking nuts, and the makers would sometimes carve them into whimsical characters. Eventually, the functionality was secondary, and the dolls became decorative, yet retained the visual jaw-dropping function of cracking nuts. Collective folklore wisdom grants the Ore Mountains in Germany as the birthplace of nutcrackers. It is here, where a craftsman from the town  Seiffen, carved them. Wilhelm Friedrich Füchtner, known in Germany as the “father of the nutcracker,” was instrumental in the popularization of the novelty. They became popular as gifts and by the mid-1800s were being produced in factories.

Nutcrackers were a European thing until after the Second World War when soldiers came home with them for souvenirs. The story, The  Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by Hoffman was adapted as a ballet, The Nutcracker, also played an important part in boosting the popularity of nutcrackers in America. Today nutcrackers are often featured as holiday decorations and are collector's items. 

Nutcrackers come in all sorts — from inexpensive discount soldiers to handmade German pieces, ranging from soldiers to storybook characters, to famous people and everything in between. A quick google search will yield dozens of examples. So for a bit of holiday tradition, add one to your apartment decor this holiday season. 

Nutcracker Ballet at Goodrich Theatre - Dec 6-7

Experience the Nutcracker ballet this year at the Goodrich Theatre - SUNY Oneonta Fine Arts Center. It will be performed on Friday, December 6, at 7:00 PM, and on Saturday, Dec 7, there will be two performances, one at 1:00 PM and one at 7:00 PM.  We hope members of our apartment community will be able to catch this wonderful show.