The Nutcracker

Ba-ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-dah. I’ve been waxing nostalgic on the blog this month and hearing those first few notes of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker March brings back all of the childhood feels. I remember attending my first local ballet production with my mom and sister, as a middle schooler. By my excitement and awe one might have guessed I’d been watching a Broadway musical. Any hopes of performing the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy myself were dashed by my two left feet, but in the audience, I could dream. Even though we saw the performance several times, on into my high school years, the Nutcracker never failed to enchant me.

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When I noticed that this treasure candle returned to the stores in early fall, I fell in love with the label and knew that I wanted it, even before smelling it. I added it to my Yankee Candle employee shop (50% friends and family) order, which my friend gathered up for me in September. Giving it a quick sniff when I picked up my packages, I thought it smelled familiar, and I liked it’s Christmas-y notes. It wasn’t until I unpacked my haul a few weeks later that I realized it was the same scent as my festive favorite, Red Berry & Cedar! I didn’t know RB&C had been repackaged and though not necessary, as a customer fave that returns every holiday season, I’m still happy that I got one because the label is extremely jolly.

The notes are bright currant, juicy rasperry, and sweet mandarin with cedarwood, sugar and musk. Boasting one of the most vibrant throws of any Yankee, whether in tarts or candles, it’s a tried and true holiday scent. My original review, from January can be found here.

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Though E.T.A. Hoffman’s Nutcracker fairy tale is most powerfully told through music and dance, several charming storybook versions exist as well. The book on the left is a more modern retelling based on the ballet, by Susan Jeffers published in 2007. On the right is a delightful folk art version retold by Jean Richarson, illustrated by Francesca Crespi published in 1990.

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Jeffers’ work has spare prose, interesting angled page spreads, and lush pastel colors showcasing the graceful dances.

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Richardson’s and Crespi’s work is the more traditional storyline. Awash in monochromatic tones with pops of primary red, blue and gold, the artwork has a fanciful, dream-like quality.

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Both capture and enhance the timeless magic of The Nutcracker tale. Yankee’s Nutcracker candle version enhances my enjoyment, even more, of one of my beloved festive scents.

Operation Christmas slowdown

Pulling back on the flurry of activity this year is going better than I thought it would. There have been a few wobbly moments. Some of thinking “oh no! It’s just x number of days away, and I’ll never be ready” creeping into my consciousness, other times I was overwhelmed with emotion brought on by Christmas carols linked to memories. Enlisting others for help, delegating tasks and reconfiguring plans calmed me through those brief panicked moments. My usual escape routes of keeping busy throughout the day and unwinding in nostalgic feel-good shows and reads (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) also helped at night. One area that has fallen completely by the holiday wayside has been any meal planning or baking. I don’t do that much of it anyway and my heart’s not into recipe searching/ shopping or anything of the sort. My contribution to the holiday meal is shaping up to be a veggie tray. Sorry about that fam, maybe last minute inspiration will strike.

Happily, spending time with loved ones was a fulfilled wish this weekend. My husband and I got an unexpected Saturday off from speech and devoted the day to tackling some holiday errands. Sunday was whiled away visiting my niece, so I thought I’d share the craft that I devised for us to do.

We made mason jar snow globe scenes. I didn’t follow any particular craft instructions, but there are many elaborate examples, both handmade creations and ones produced for retail, found online.

The coolest item for our jar scenes was the can of instant snow that I got at Michael’s craft store for $1.50 on sale. It’s a powdered polymer which, when mixed with water, forms a realistic foamy fake snow.

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My niece has loads more crafting experience than I, and was an expert with the low-temp glue gun. We glued our woodland baubles onto the galvanized lids, added some fake snow, screwed on the 5 inch tall smooth jars and finished with some ribbon. Voila! A simple and heavily glittered bit of holiday whimsy.

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We already have plans for expanding our mason jar village next year.

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        I adore the finished products!

After the peak of the hustle and bustle dies down, my hope is to find that this Christmas was a time well spent. Whatever your holiday plans entail, I wish the same for you and your celebrations this season, my waxie friends. Merry Christmas!

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3 thoughts on “The Nutcracker

  1. I also love the Nutcracker. 🙂 I danced for 20 years in my younger, springier days, and I used to go to the Nutcracker every year with my mom and dad (in my ballet slippers, no less, so practical in Canadian winter, particularly the year our car broke down on the way home!) And dance nerd alert here, but I also had a double cassette of Tchaikovsky music, including the entire Nutcracker Suite, and I just listened to it like other kids listened to Bon Jovi! The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has been doing a pretty great, more kid-oriented version for years now where the nutcracker army and the mice fight each other with giant vegetables, and there’s this scampy teddy bear that comes alive from beneath the tree and runs around in the hockey jersey of whatever city they’re in (go Ottawa Sens!) It sounds kind of lame, but it’s pretty terrific – definitely one of my favourite versions.

    I love your little craftable village – so cute! Great idea to add to it – who knows what other holidays could sneak into there, Nightmare Before Christmas-style. 😉

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    1. You can’t see me, but I’m bowing down (`a la I’m not worthy) not only for the 20 yrs of dance but for the attendance in ballet slippers and for the Nutcracker suite cassette worship. Nerd on…
      The Winnipeg ballet performance sounds fun and kinda freaky in a good way, thanks for sharing!
      Re:the crafts, thank you and I like the way your brain works, Merry Christmas:)

      Like

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