Local Woman Nutty for Nutcrackers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/22/04

Local Woman Nutty for Nutcrackers

Look around at your holiday decorations. Is there a nutcracker in the house? There sure is at Janice Stephens'. Stephens gets into the holiday spirit in a way that's a little different.

It could be her international flair. Her family says it's more of "a passion." "They think it's overwhelming...a little excessive but that's okay with me, I love it," she said.

For the last 20 years, she has been collecting nutcrackers. "I have almost 500."

Every year, she displays them for all to see, or at least all of her neighborhood. But transforming her house into a toy soldier wonderland isn't as easy as you might think. "We put them in boxes and put them in containers and in a climate-controlled storage unit, and they sleep there for the summer."

But once the summer is over, the madness begins. All 500 nutcrackers are strategically placed. It takes Stephens more than two weeks to get every collectable in that perfect spot. "As soon as I take it out I say aw...and I remember this one...it's a new experience every year."

The story goes, the nutcracker protected the house and everyone in it from the mouse king. And Stephens says that's the same sense of protection she feels from her mini battalion. "I have a military soldier this year, and a fireman."

For those who think Stephens maybe a little too nutty for nutcrackers, she doesn't care. "I love them very much, and I love showing it."

Stephens says she got her nutcrackers everywhere from Germany to the local Sam's Club. And as far as having a favorite, she says she can't choose, she loves them all.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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