are pleased to present our new Nutcracker Vendor to
accompany the Children Holding Nutcrackers in 2003. This
new Caroler will be adorned in a variety of winter clothing from
past eras. He valiantly carries a selection of miniature
nutcrackers in a woven basket from which his patrons can choose.
have existed since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when nuts
were offered during daily meals. In the eighteenth century, its
roots were cemented in the Erzgebirge region of Germany as
out-of-work miners skillfully whittled wood. A puppet carver from
Seiffen created the first character nutcracker with a wide,
moveable mouth used to crack nuts. Before these delightful
characters were created, people used the expression, it's a tough
nut to crack. The
reasons are twofold; they used their
teeth or large rocks to remove the actual nut, and their lives had
become hard as nuts.
nutcrackers represented soldiers, kings and uniformed figures
known to provide townspeople with a sense of security. Folklore
abounds about the magical powers of nutcrackers. Displaying
nutcrackers in a Home Page is said to bring good luck.
nostalgic nutcrackers depict toy soldiers, resplendent with black,
blue and red helmets from the festive ballet, The Nutcracker
Raises over $29,000 for Charity
On June 7-8,
a wonderful event was held at the factory in Chalfont. Almost
5,000 enthusiasts of the Carolers¨ and Kindles traveled from 39
different states to visit the gardens, go out onto
the factory floor, visit with Byers'
Choice artisans, and take part in a variety of games and contests.
of the exciting events was a special auction where Jeff Byers
handpicked twenty-five unique or highly unusual pieces for silent
bid. Pieces included everything from a one-of-a-kind Cowboy Santa
that was developed years ago for Neiman Marcus, to early Apple
Head dolls created by Bob and Joyce, as well as a much sought
after Apple Lady. Each bidder was able to select from one of five
charities; all tolled, the pieces brought in an excess of $29,000
to help a variety of worthwhile causes.
didn't need to be a high bidder to leave with a special figure. We
opened the archives and pulled out a variety of older pieces and
gave everyone who attended the weekend a chance to win the right
to buy the piece at its original issue price. Everyone enjoyed
looking through many Old Friends from ten plus years ago, looking
for that one piece that they had been searching for many years. It
was fun to see how many of the faces and costumes have changed and
become more sophisticated!
special piece available only for the weekend was a Silver Father
Christmas holding a Victorian candy cone. During the late 1800's,
most Christmas trees were decorated with very ornate packages and
cones to hold small presents and special treats such as candy and
fruits. Children would scour the tree looking for all of the
surprises and goodies on Christmas morning. The Silver Father
Christmas helps to commemorate this tradition.
highlight for many of the visitors was a tour of the factory floor
where they got to see many of the artisans close up at work.
Everyone left the tour with a greater appreciation of the enormous
care that the artisans place in their work. From the first artisan
who bends a coat hanger to create the body's frame to the dresser
who finishes the hat and hair, each artisan takes great pride in
his/her work, and it shows!
"It is a
terrific opportunity for our artisans to see how much their
creativity means to people," said Bob Byers, Jr. "They get an
enormous amount of energy from hearing about what makes a Caroler
or Kindle special to someone, then they go back and try to make
their work even better. It is so powerful, that we hope to run a
similar event again sometime in the future."
and Native Americans are brought to life in the
Thanksgiving grouping as they share their harvested abundance of
victuals. Bedecked in authentic garb, these Carolers are a
welcomed addition to your Thanksgiving table. This year, we have
brought back the Native American Children to complete the
Pumpkin Harvest Boy
Pumpkin Harvest Boy is adorned in checkered shirt and denim
patched overalls. To celebrate the season, he clutches a carved
Jack-O-Lantern. A straw hat rests upon his head to provide shade
while walking through the pumpkin patch. To order this piece,
simply fill out the form below and take it to your favorite Byers'
Choice retailer before August 10, 2003. The
Pumpkin Harvest Boy will then be sent from Byers' Choice to
your local retailer where you can pick it up in time for your fall
decorating. This piece costs $54.00 and the offer is
limited exclusively through the Caroler Chronicle.
Williamsburg Shopping Family carries samples of delicacies and
items made and sold in Colonial Williamsburg, highlighting
Christmas traditions. The Colonial Woman clutches a wrapped
sugar cone reminiscent of an era when chunks of the sweetener were
chopped off, with iron sugar nippers, as needed. The Colonial
Man carries a wooden barrel and a Virginia ham for a
traditional holiday feast. A portion of the sales of these pieces
helps support the efforts of Colonial Williamsburg.
was the common moniker for ordinary British sailors in the
1800's. Named for the tar commonly used on sailing ships and
slicked on their hair, these top mastmen wore uniforms that
allowed freedom of movement. We've selected this costume from a
life-sized wooden figure in
Museum in Philadelphia. The squeeze-box he is playing was used to
entertain the crew and wile away the long hours at sea.
To honor and
support the opening of the National Constitution Center on July 4,
2003, across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Byers' Choice
has designed the Patriotic Drummer, a fine companion for
the Woman with Flag. His patriotic finery is reminiscent of
the historical Fife and Drum Bands that still march periodically
through Independence Square in the city of brotherly love.
new summer additions -- the Kindle Angels. Draped in white
robes, with expanded golden wings, these cute Angels will flutter
from your tree or mantle to reveal the importance of the moment.
Employee Spotlight . . . meet
Werner, one of our special artisans, has been a dresser in the
Kindle department for five years. She lends her talents to
creating Kindles in their fashion finery. Married with two grown
boys, Holly drives forty minutes each way to work because she
loves the friendly atmosphere
at Byers' Choice.
working with my hands and adore the people I work with," she says.
"Everyone is comfortable here, and I've made good friends along
the way. In fact, Joyce will come in and talk to us so I feel that
we're all like family."
hands, shoes, faces and hair to the Kindles, then dresses them in
various swathes of clothing, including hats, shoes and
accessories. Because each Kindle varies in personality and boasts
different designs, she says the amount dressed in one day is
"We focus on
the quality not the quantity so we are able to create a nice
product," she reveals. "We have so many different figures, and we
all have our favorites. Yet, each day offers new discoveries.
I enjoy crafts and this job allows
me the opportunity to explore my own creativity due to the fact
they're all handmade."
also an avid collector who plans to pass them on for the enjoyment
of future generations.
shopping spree wouldn't be complete without Traditional
Shopping Children who join their parents and grandparents in
2003. Our young lady clutches packages, post cards and a straw
hat. The young man carries a stuffed animal, Santa ornament and
box filled to the brim with fresh berries. Their exuberance
presents a rich tableau of festivity.
Size Working Santa