One of my favorite Christmas traditions

Nutcracker

It’s not Christmas without the Nutcracker.

Really. I am that girl who grew up watching it every year. Not in the theater, mind you, but on my couch. Growing up in the NW meant that every year, sometime on a Saturday afternoon in December, the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker would air. It couldn’t be any ol’ interpretation, just the PNW one for it had costumes by Maurice Sendak. The picture above is not from the movie. Sadly, I could not find a satisfactory one.

Watching the movie brings me back to the magic of Christmas. The story of good vs. evil. The story of True Love. There’s something menacing about the god-father Drosselmeier. His gaze lingers just a little too long on Clara. He gave me the creeps as a child and continues to do so as an adult. Some things never change. The strange peacock woman with her wild eyes always enthralled me as did the men jumping over the fire. The lure of the exotic.

I always loved the narrator talking, the adult Clara reminiscing. I always wondered what happened after she woke up. Did she wander through life waiting to remeet the Nutcracker? Was it really just a dream?

I went to see the ballet for the first time last year. I didn’t know that my life would change so much – the two women I went and saw it with have both undergone similar changes.  It would be almost impossible for all of us to go together again. So last year was special. I sat with my hands clasped tightly, eyes wide open, ready to soak up the Christmas ambiance. If anything, the ballet went too quickly. I hadn’t had enough of Clara or her Nutcracker prince.

I was bummed this year when I couldn’t make it to see the Nutcracker live.  It’s always been a hallmark of my Christmas season. Watching it on Netflix is about as good as I’ll get this year.

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