Christmas Soldiers

Yesterday I shared pictures of London’s festive wreaths.  Today I have photos of another quirky Christmas decoration.   Isn’t it odd that a festival of joy, peace, light and family should have a tradition of using toy soldiers as decorations?

Claridges soldier

We can blame Ernst Hoffmann for writing a novella called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in 1816, which inspired a ballet first performed in 1892, with music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Both the novella and the ballet are set at Christmas.  They tell the story of a nutcracker shaped like a soldier coming to life and taking a child on an adventure.  In displaying the large-scale soldiers in these photos as Christmas decorations, Claridges Hotel is tapping into the romance and excitement of the ballet, and the idea that staying in a Mayfair hotel could be a magical adventure.

Claridges soldier inside

The  same idea has occurred to the people who run the Langham Hotel.  This soldier is standing guard outside the Palm Court restaurant.

Langham hotel soldier

If you want to see a more British style of toy soldier, go to the Burberry clothes shops on Regent Street or Bond Street.  The Guards have put down their guns and picked up scarves.

Burberry soldier scarves

Burberry soldierAt least the Burberry soldiers are working under the direction of Santa Claus.

Burberry Santa

If you’re interested in the Nutcracker ballet, click on this link to read more on my friend Fran Pickering’s blog “Sequins and Cherry Blossom”:   the Festive Season starts with The Nutcracker.

And for more on the background to nutcrackers as a kitchen tool, or a collectable, or a Christmas decoration, click here for an interesting article on

3 thoughts on “Christmas Soldiers

Now it's over to you - leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.