Clara Stahlbaum may have loved her nutcracker so much that it sparked a wild dream of      battles between Christmas toys and the Mouse King and his army. But Gina Quary and her family can give the little fictional German girl from “The Nutcracker Ballet” story a run for her money.


Quary is nuts about nutcrackers, an affection she gained from her mother, Norma Carroll, who first started collecting the toothy statues years ago.


Clara Stahlbaum may have loved her nutcracker so much that it sparked a wild dream of      battles between Christmas toys and the Mouse King and his army. But Gina Quary and her family can give the little fictional German girl from “The Nutcracker Ballet” story a run for her money.

Quary is nuts about nutcrackers, an affection she gained from her mother, Norma Carroll, who first started collecting the toothy statues years ago.

“She started collecting and I decided I wanted to, so for every birthday and Christmas, she bought me one,” Quary said from her I Street SW home, where her nutcracker collection stays on display year-round on her living room shelves.

Quary’s colorful nutcrackers — more than 40 in all — range in size from 3 inches to 2 feet and run the gamut of character types that make the collection unique.

“I think my ‘Wizard of Oz’ ones are my favorite,” she said, referring to her collection of characters from the beloved movie — including the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and Toto and the Scarecrow.

After that, her affinity runs to the Three Wise Men nutcrackers, which were the first she ever received. From there, it’s anybody’s game.

She has a football player, the rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland,” a sailor, Uncle Sam, Don Quixote, a snowman and Santa, a policeman, a baker, a leprechaun and many others.

“I just think they’re really interesting,” she said. “I used to put them up every year, but it got to be too much trouble, so I just leave them out all the time.

“The only thing I don’t have is a military one — a camo nutcracker,” Quary said. “I saw some this year, but they’re probably already gone.”

Although Quary still loves her nutcracker collection, she’s had to become practical about it in the past few years.

“I quit collecting them about a year ago because I ran out of room,” she said.