Story: Susan Darcey | Styling: Mandy Keener |
A Russellville woman’s nutcracker collection serves as a reminder of special occasions, while providing holiday cheer
It is the time of year for twinkling lights, bright decorations, candy canes and, for Beverly Keener, nutcrackers. Keener has quite an amazing collection of the decorative doll-like figures. In fact, she has a nutcracker to represent almost every occasion or event in her life, and they include a motley group from traditional soldiers to kings, hunters, firemen and even reindeer and chimney sweeps—all with detailed characteristics and a story.
Upon entering the Keener’s home at the holidays, family and guests are greeted by these whimsical statues, which are lined up and down the entryway’s staircase harmoniously. “They stand guard on every step all the way up the stairs,” chuckles Keener. Originating in Germany, Nutcrackers carry a famous legend, which claims they provide protection with their power and strength while also projecting goodwill, thus leading Keener to display them prominently.
Even with an ever-expanding collection of close to 70 nutcrackers, Keener pays special attention to her display as sometimes a new one will appear mysteriously on her staircase as a gift. “I have friends that always come and see what I’ve done with them each year,” she says.
Keener’s first nutcracker was given to her in 1970, as a gift from her parents when they returned from a trip to Europe. “After you have one they start drawing your attention,” she says. “They are very intriguing, and after a couple of years I was collecting.” When adding a nutcracker to her collection, Keener admits that she isn’t drawn to a particular brand but rather an event or occasion. “Like a new child or when my son went to Afghanistan,” she says. ‘”Just different things that represent that year. It’s the look that I go for rather than how much something cost. It has to catch my eye.”