5 Traditional and 5 Modern Nutcrackers

(Image credit: World Market)

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.
(Image credit: Anthropologie)


  • 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.)
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