Monday, December 22, 2014

The Nutcracker

Recently, a group of bloggers I follow posted a Christmas home-tour on each of their blogs. I loved this glimpse into their homes - but I wouldn't know how to begin to show mine. (Okay, truthfully, I'm in the midst of some Christmas projects, and I just don't have the energy to make my house ready for a “photo-shoot” before this post is published!)

Instead, I'm going to share some Nutcracker images.  I learned today that "according to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home."  If that is the case, our home should be well protected! While decorating for Christmas this year, it occurred to me that the Nutcracker has often been an important December event for our family.



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This past weekend my husband and I attended a production of the Nutcracker ballet.



We went to the performance because the son and daughter of good friends of ours were performing as the Snow King / Cavalier and the Sugar Plum Fairy (and the Nutcracker). We were overwhelmingly impressed by the outstanding quality of the dancing, costumes, and stage sets.  

I don't know how our friend's hearts just didn't burst with pride, as they watched two of their offspring dance so talentedly together. It was a magical performance.  This was one of the most enjoyable Nutcracker ballets I have ever attended - I am so glad we went!
Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow King / Cavalier

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This photo shows the closest my own children have ever gotten to dancing a ballet duet:


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Many years ago, my friend Mary Ann Byrne-Walker gave me this framed print of a poster she drew for a Nutcracker production. I am also lucky enough to receive a hand-drawn Christmas card from her each year. Mary Ann's artwork is wonderful, and she has illustrated two published children's books, Night Noises and The Magic Is In You: A Magic Wand Story. (Both can be purchased on Amazon.com)



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This photo was taken during a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights, with my parents.  I remember all of us being really, really cold - but we stopped on the way back to the car to take one more photo of this impressive display of Nutcracker animals. (It was so cold, you can see in the picture that my daughter almost disappeared inside her coat!)




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My mother-in-law has given us many wonderful holiday ornaments over the years - these two unique "doctor" Nutcrackers are both from her.




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This soft tin soldier was given to my children by some dear family friends.  He always adds a cheery touch to whatever room I place him in!



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My daughter attended professional Nutcracker performances twice in Cincinnati, Ohio, when she was small. 
The first time was with her grandmother and her best friend. Her grandmother gave her a beautiful rotating musical Ballerina and a tall Nutcracker as a wonderful reminder of this special afternoon performance.  I have misfiled the photo from that day (and just don't have time to look for it now!) - but here is one taken just after one of my daughter's own performances, with her grandparents.

A few years later, she went to see this ballet again, this time on a very special “father-daughter date.” Of course, there had to be some twirls and lifts before they set out.

Her brother and I stayed home and had fun making Christmas cookies.

Daddy purchased these two fine fellows after the ballet; one for each of our children to have.


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We have a variety of Nutcracker tree ornaments:



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We are a family of book-lovers - so of course we have a hardcover copy of The Nutcracker story.




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As I have just shown, we are pretty well supplied with Nutcracker items.  Recently, though, I discovered the work of the artist Patience Brewster. She has created some delightful Christmas decorations, including several from the Nutcracker. Her very whimsical Mouse King Ornament (2013) is awfully cute!






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Of all my Nutcracker Ballet items, my favorite is this photo - of our little "Clara" - on the night her daddy took her to see the Nutcracker.




It wouldn't feel like Christmas in my house, without a Nutcracker item or two.  
How about you?

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13 comments :

  1. What a wonderful group of photos! You made me realize that I don't have a single Nutcracker - and I don't know why. I always admire them at the store! I took the boys to see a performance when they were little and I don't think they appreciated it properly. Love the last picture of your daughter - so sweet!

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    1. Thanks Lana. My son has never shown any interest in The Nutcracker either :)

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  2. I love how you themed this around one piece!

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    1. Thanks Deena. It actually surprised me to realize how many nutcrackers items we do own. And I even missed a few - like a beautiful photo of my niece (now in her senior year of dance in University) as Clara one year.

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  3. This is an absolute cracker of a post. Thank you - and a very, very happy Christmas to you and yours.

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    1. I love your play on words! So clever, always, EC! The same to you - for New Years, too.

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  4. You have a nice collection of nutcrackers and great memories to go with them. We went to see the Nutcracker ballet a couple weeks ago...our 3rd time ;-)

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    1. Every time I see the Nutcracker, I see something new. There is always so much going on in each scene! Happy Holidays!

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  5. Lovely photos and memories. I just love that Mouse King.

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    1. Thanks Delores. I think the Mouse King is very cute too - as are many of the things by the artist Patience Brewster!

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  6. Just lovely! I love nutcrackers! We have out own collection and our tree is covered in them. Nutcrackers just say 'Christmas' in our home!

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    1. I would love to see your collection, Diane!

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  7. I couldn't believe it when I saw the "Festival of Light" from the Cincinnati Zoo! Before living here we grew up just South of Cincinnati and went to the zoo several times of year especially during the festival! I've always wanted to see the Nutcracker there but never managed too. Small world!

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!