Why Nuts are Traditional for Christmas

Posted on : November 26th, 2017

NutcrackersA big bowl of nuts with a nutcracker is always on our table at Christmas. And it’s hardly the Christmas season at all without the Nutcracker ballet on television or an old-fashioned nutcracker livening up the room. But where did the tradition of nuts and nutcrackers at Christmas come from?

Well, it depends on who you ask! Many people from European countries will tell you that it’s because Saint Nicholas brings nuts and oranges and other small treats on his feast day on December 5th or 6th. In some countries, like the Netherlands, the treats are left in good children’s shoes that are left out to be filled that night. In other countries Saint Nicholas arrives at a party carrying a large sack and strews the nuts and other goodies on the floor for children to scramble after. “Scrambling for nuts” was a popular game played by rough-housing boys in Elizabethan England. But the practice of strewing nuts goes back much further than the celebration of Christmas!

The ancient Roman poet Virgil wrote about scattering nuts more than once. Apparently a good nut harvest was associated with the birth of more children than usual the following year so nuts became a good luck charm for fertility. They were scattered on the ground at weddings and during the winter holiday of Saturnalia and many other holidays throughout the year. Later, when the pagan holidays were folded into Christmas it was said that the three parts of the nut—the shell, skin, and kernel—represented the holy trinity or the bones, skin, and soul of the Saviour himself.

Whether it’s pagan or Christian, the idea of nuts bringing good luck at Christmastime appears to have stuck. In German folklore, the tradition of giving a wooden nutcracker in the form of a soldier or some other fierce authority figure was a way of keeping loved ones safe from harm. The nutcracker represented the power and strength to guard the family from evil spirits. It served the double role of plaything for children and decorative but utilitarian accompaniment to the custom of finishing dinner with pleasant conversation while passing around the nut bowl.

Continue the nut-giving tradition at Maisie Jane’s!

Our beautifully decorated gift baskets offer wonderful assortments of nut treats and other local food items. And there are so many different choices! You’re sure to find one that everybody likes. Stop by our country store at 1324 Dayton in Chico, CA or buy online and have one delivered on time for the holidays!

Don’t forget, Monday November 27th is our special one day only Cyber Monday Sale! Use the code CYBERMON20 for 20% off on gift baskets. Just one day—don’t delay!


Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family-owned and operated orchards. We use organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.