The holidays are coming! Obviously. And with that, comes childhood memories of Christmas favorites such as pulling out the ornaments and decorations to trim the tree, Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas (yes, I’m serious), and The Nutcracker Suite.

The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann on Flee Fly FlownMy two sisters and I were all took ballet lessons as young ones, and older. We were also lucky enough to live near Interlochen Arts Academy which put on production of The Nutcracker ballet every other year during the holiday season. Luckily, for the party scene, they recruited kids from the local dance studios to audition for the “kids” as well as the polichinelles, little angels and toy soldiers. As kids, at least one of us girls was in the ballet for a good 8 years running, thus subjecting my brothers to the torture of a bi-annual trip to the ballet.

For me though, I loved it. The music, costumes, story and choreography stir the Christmas spirit and get me excited for the holidays to come. It’s been a couple years since I’ve seen a production of the ballet, however, I still listen to the music during the season and might just have to go see it again this year to see how the Milwaukee Ballet has reinterpreted it.

The Original Cast of the Nutcracker on Flee Fly FLown

Last year, for the Holidays, I was inspired by the classic Twelve Days of Christmas, this year I’m pulling from my years of fond memories of dancing in, and watching The Nutcracker Suite. Here’s The New York City Ballet’s promo video to give you a taste:

I’ve done some research on the traditional story, and there are several variations (including a movie coming out in 3D format this December and the ABT’s new take, The Hard Nut), so for the sake of consistency, the following gift guides will follow the story as it’s told through Tchaikovsky’s music and story for the ballet stage. Perhaps with a few creative or inspirational licenses here or there.

I’ll paint the scenes for each day of gift inspiration with a full re-cap at the very end. Gift Guide # 1 coming up this afternoon!

Happy Shopping!

- Colleen

P.S. Check out the trailer for this year’s movie!