Since I was a child, I’ve always loved the classical music of The Nutcracker, written by Tchaikovsky. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of a sugar plum fairy dancing in your head while you listen to that beautiful music?
A long time ago, I started a small collection of different nutcrackers and they almost always adorn someplace in our home at Christmas time. I don’t really recall which one I acquired first, but over the years, I’ve added more. But before the collection became too large, I decided to stop and just keep it small.
Of course, The Nutcracker is a famous ballet, usually performed during the Christmas season and I do have a vague recall of having seen it televised when I was a child in the early 1960’s.
Later, as a married adult I attended a live performance of The Nutcracker danced by a ballet company in the city where we lived at the time. And as our children came along, I decided that one day we would take them to see the ballet as a holiday treat.
We managed to accomplish that, although our son, who was pretty young at the time, fell asleep and missed more than half of the performance. Still it’s a lovely memory in my mind: the five of us all dressed up in Christmas finery traveling into the city to enjoy a live ballet with a Christmas story line.
Our oldest granddaughter seems to share my fascination with nutcrackers. We’ve read the story to her and she remembered that Nana has a set of nutcrackers that decorate the top of the piano at Christmas time.
While Papa and I were hauling out the holly to set our house ablaze with lights and decorations, Little One was here as it was a baby-sitting day.
“Nana, can I help you get the nutcrackers out?” she asked. Well, I’m a grandmother, a doting one, and even though I probably never allowed my own children at her age to help with the nutcrackers in fear that they would break one, of course, I said, “Sure!”
I found the plastic storage bin where the nutcrackers were located, opened it, and one by one, Little One helped me release them from their protective layers of tissue and bubble wrap. Something needed my attention in the kitchen, so I left our granddaughter in the dining room with the decorations.
Re-entering later, I found myself amused that she had lined them all up mostly by height and was enjoying them. So I left again to do something else.
Soon, I heard a little bit of thumping. I called to her and asked if she was alright. She assured me she was. A few minutes afterward, she sought me and asked me to come into the living room. I was shocked at what I found.
My four-year-old grandchild has an eye for decorating! She had crawled up onto the piano bench and placed the nutcrackers, one by one, in a very nice fashion. She was so proud of her accomplishment that she dragged her mama, when she got back from working, in to see her display.
We all chuckled when she announced that she did it all by herself and “I didn’t even get distracted.”
Those nutcrackers gave me yet another Christmas memory to cherish. And some day, when she’s just a tad older so she won’t fall asleep, this Nana and Papa will take our granddaughter, dressed in her Christmas finery, to see The Nutcracker ballet in person.
And that will be yet another Christmas memory for her and me, I hope.
“The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale.” ~ Vera Nazarian