One of the most traditional symbols of the holiday season, nutcracker figurines date from the 15th century in Germany. But not all the ones you find today are strictly decorative — here is a mix of five traditional nutcracker figurines, along with five modern choices you can actually use the next time you need to shell some nuts.
- Christian Ulbricht Santa Nutcracker, $90 from Wayfair: The most traditional of all, this Santa nutcracker has family tradition written all over it.
- International Girl Nutcrackers, $28 for 3 from World Market: This nutcracker trio gives a nod to holiday traditions from around the globe.
- Kurt Adler MLB Nutcrackers, $60 from Macy's: For the baseball nut, there's no question that this is the appropriate nutcracker choice.
- Penguin Nutcracker, $32 from Wayfair: A friendlier traditional nutcracker; we'll ignore the fact that this penguin would be a bit out of place in the North Pole.
- Robot Nutcracker, $30 from MoMA Store: A slightly more modern take on the figural nutcrackers, this colorful robot is guaranteed to entertain the kids.
- Squirrel Nut Cracker, $24 from Anthropologie: Like something straight out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, this squirrel nutcracker is extra special because of the rose gold finish.
- Wood & Metal Nutcracker, $19 from West Elm: This simple version makes an easy stocking stuffer.
- Nusskubus Nutcracker, $49 from Nova 68: This wooden block nutcracker provides an immensely satisfying way to smash into those walnuts.
- Nut Hammer, $40 from CB2: This cast iron hammer and silicone orb make it easy to crack even the toughest nuts.
- Wood Mushroom Nutcracker, $4 from World Market: This simple gadget is small enough to keep in a drawer for year-round use. (Note: It's only available in stores.)