Erzegebirge Angel & Miner
Erzegebirge Angel & Miner

These figures tell the fuller history of this region now known for its woodcraft: before there was wood-crafting, there was mining in these Ore Mountains, and the Angels were with those who went underground for the ore... The wood turned figures we stock come in a variety of sizes, but most are in the traditional shapes. The Fuechtner family (the inventor of the first nutcrackers) makes a beautiful pair of candle lit Angel and Miner Pyramid figures, whose bells make delicate soft sounds as their paddles turn. Other designers reference these figures in arches, ornaments, tea light holders and more... A rich bit of storytelling!

Snowman Ornament
Woodcraft Ornaments from the Erzgebirge

These include painted items from Hubrig and Ulbricht, as well as some unusual glass and wood combinations from a new company named Titze which feature hand-painted Thuringwald glass with fine wood cuts.  You’ll also find “reiffendrei” (hoop turned) birds and animals represented in wood ornaments as well as table top miniature sets.  This is a special wood turning skill that only about 9 people in the Erzgebirge have and is a particularly cool bit of crafting.


Invented in the 19th century by Herr Fuechtner, in the small town of Seiffen, in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountain) region of Germany, Nutcrackers became best known in the US most likely as a result of the Nutcracker Suite ballet. The original nutcrackers were always Kings, Princes, Soldiers and the like (hence Herr Drosselmeir bringing a Prince to Clara). The reason behind this? It’s all about a play on words: in the German language, to “crack a nut” is to solve a difficult problem. Back in the centuries before Germany was a democracy, the every-day person had always to appeal to his prince to solve the most difficult problems. And so it made sense: to crack your nuts at dessert time, you’d need a King or a Prince.

Smokers, a.k.a, Smoking Men or “Rauchermanner”

Associated with blessings and good luck, these incense burning figures enjoy a longer history than Nutcrackers, reaching back to a time when most everyone burned incense to chase bad spirits or seek blessings, both in and out of church. The earliest figures had clay faces and wooden bodies; today’s figures are almost always all wood, with a metal plate inside upon which to rest the incense cone. While most figures are pipe-smoking male characters, there are more and more artists creatively working the smoking idea into female characters such as bakers with cookies sheets, women hikers gathering herbs, professionals taking a tea break and more. We sell many, many Father Christmas smokers around Christmastime, but some of the most engaging designs are traditional hobbies and occupations of the German culture and certainly make wonderful gifts year round, whenever you want to send a Good Luck! wish.