Afterwards, I would bemoan the fact that they were expensive, costing much more than I could afford. Setting them back for on the shelves for others to buy, I would think, "When I grow up I'm going to collect these!"
It's been more than 30 years now since I acquired my first hand-carved nutcracker. It was a gift from a loved one and getting it was very exciting for me. That first nutcracker was traditional in design; it resembled a toy soldier — much like the one seen on the posters of The Nutcracker ballet. The acquisition of that first nutcracker turned out to be the start of a treasured collection and my love affair with all things "nutcracker."
Not only has my collection grown to include nutcrackers in all shapes and sizes (and from different countries) it now includes nutcracker "characters" that include a cowboy, a sailor, a chimney sweep, a few Santas, a snowman, some kings and a wide assortment of additional toy soldiers. I love them all!
But, my affection for nutcrackers did not end with the carved "dolls." I have, somehow, acquired books about nutcrackers and "The Nutcracker," CDs of the beloved Nutcracker music, silver candleholders in the shape of nutcrackers, mugs, plates, tea towels and fabric napkins decorated with nutcrackers, pillows and throws with nutcrackers on them, place card holders shaped like nutcrackers, even a nutcracker shaped like a nutcracker!
I can honestly say I did not buy all of these items for myself. Well-meaning friends and relatives have gifted me these special items. Every time I think I own every nutcracker "thing" ever made, I get another one! I should, at some point, say, "Enough already!"
But I don't. Instead, I smile broadly and say sincerely, "Thank you so much! I love it!"
And, I do!
And, I do!