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Nutcracker Collection Fills Home with Memories

| December 1, 2015

Brenda Hatfield decorates for Christmas with her 150 nutcrackers.

Brenda Hatfield decorates for Christmas with her 150 nutcrackers.

Brenda Hatfield’s Collection Ranges From Religion To Cultural Icons, From Personal Sentiment To Sports

By Mara Soloway / Photos by Amanda White

When Brenda Hatfield of The Woodlands went nuts over nutcrackers, she went all in: at last count, she has 150 collected over the last 27 years or so. It’s been an adventure, finding them at unexpected historical sites. Her collection contains many with personal significance.

“I really liked them. They just became a very special part of Christmas to me, and especially so, when my husband, Jim, started searching for them for me,” she said.

While she does have some upscale nutcrackers that are made, like those by Kurt Adler, Steinbach, and Nutcracker Village, Brenda’s tastes gravitate to the ones that bring meaning to her life.

“When I get my Christmas nutcracker collection out, I remember where I got them and who they are from. It has become a nice ritual with my son, Dallas, to pull out the boxes and start arranging them and fill the shelves each year.” Dallas has a few of his own, like sports-themed nutcrackers.

Brenda also creates new ones by altering existing ones. “I am proud of the ones I have put effort and creativity into, and it makes them more special to me and my children,” she said. She has made her son a Lego nutcracker. She also made a sorority girl and Highland Girl for her daughter when she was a part of drill team, which is meaningful to Brenda because she was a highstepper at McCullough, the first high school in The Woodlands. “We were the first graduating class in 1979. I also have a Highlander football player, and now my son plays Highlander football.”

Her daughter, Lauren, got married this year, so Brenda will make her a bride nutcracker using items from her wedding and from her dress.

Some of her sentimental favorites are her Nativity scene and cultural nutcrackers that represent different countries, cultures or eras, with Cleopatra (her favorite), Caesar, a Geisha girl, an Eskimo, a Viking, a Matador, and a 1950’s girl with a hula hoop and poodle skirt. Others include Noah and his Ark and Elvis.

“Some of my first ones that started my collection that are dear to me are Charlie Chaplin, a pirate and police and firemen. I am partial to my A&M Aggies nutcracker, that I got for my daughter, Taylor, and definitely partial to my three different sizes and types of Dallas Cowboys nutcrackers. We are huge Cowboys fans!”

Jim has also found her ones that represent some of her favorite places that she has visited, such as the Eiffel Tower and Venice.

Brenda creates a group of movie nutcrackers, including the Star Wars characters, Shrek, Buzz and Woody, Pinocchio and Gepetto, and The Wizard of Oz figures. Of course, she has the characters from The Nutcracker.

She also creates an America shelf with Uncle Sam, the two political parties, the Statue of Liberty, an Indian and a Pilgrim, and representatives of all the Armed Forces. She bought her George Washington nutcracker at Mount Vernon, one of her favorite places visited on a family vacation. Sadly, this coincided with President Reagan’s funeral procession in Washington, D.C. “It was so profound and made us so proud to be there to witness such an amazing and historical event.”

Last year while the family was at The Alamo, Brenda unexpectedly found a Davy Crockett nutcracker in the gift shop, which is priceless to her because she is one of his descendants.

Brenda’s collection has inspired several others to start their own collection after seeing hers. “I find one I can give them to help them build their own collection. Just the other day, my grandson was so happy to share that he likes collecting them. too. I know just the perfect one I want to give him at Christmas.”

The Highland Girl that Brenda created has significance for one of her daughters and herself: both were members of the drill team in high school.

The Highland Girl that Brenda created has significance for one of her daughters and herself: both were members of the drill team in high school.

 

Brenda’s nutcrackers that represent cultural icons include Elvis (bottom shelf, centered in back), along with movie characters, such as those from The Wizard of Oz and Toy Story (second shelf from the bottom).

Brenda’s nutcrackers that represent cultural icons include Elvis (bottom shelf, centered in back), along with movie characters, such as those from The Wizard of Oz and Toy Story (second shelf from the bottom).

 

 

The Nativity.

The Nativity.

A pharoah, Cleopatra and a geisha.

A pharoah, Cleopatra and a geisha.

Brenda is a descendant of Davy Crockett.

Brenda is a descendant of Davy Crockett.


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