In the classic tale of “The Nutcracker,” which is brought to life each year by BalletMet Columbus, a decorative kitchen implement is transformed into a handsome prince who defends a little girl from the Mouse King and leads her to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Thanks to the ballet, the big-headed wooden nutcracker has become something of a holiday icon—but for some reason, you never see anyone actually open nuts with one. Instead, people use more mundane (or practical) methods for breaking into shells. Here are some of my favorites:

* Catapult * Pliers * Intricate system of ropes and pulleys * Dropped from 10-story building * Teeth * Hammer * Backed over by SUV or light truck * Sole of shoe (leather) * Clydesdale * Slammed in doorjamb