Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Nutcracker tea

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet has been a major December tradition for me ever since I was a little girl. I first saw Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland on PBS when I was 18 months old and as my parents tell it, I was transfixed. My mom took me to my first live performance two years later and since then it's been a yearly tradition to attend the ballet. We would often invite another mother-daughter duo to come along with us and make a day of it.

If we were traveling in December, we'd try to see a production wherever we happened to be, so I've seen Nutcracker performances in places as far reaching as Sarasota Springs, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Phoenix, Arizona; Edinburgh, Scotland, and many others besides. After seeing so much variety, I know what I like when it comes to choreography, costumes, staging, etc. Like, the Arabian dance should showcase feats of flexibility and strength, and Mother Ginger's children should be little acrobatic whizzes.

I haven't been to any performances since I've been married, and now with a little one taking in a show uninterrupted would be difficult. But this year I was determined that we should have our own little Nutcracker viewing. So, I ordered a DVD of the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker and Douglas and I set a date on the calendar.

A "Nutcracker" tea

To add to the fun we had a little Nutcracker-themed tea beforehand. The treats were a motley assortment culled from the various nationalities and sweets in Act II of the ballet. To wit: Chinese egg rolls, Russian blinis, marzipan and cream puffs, gingerbread scones (for Mother Ginger), Spanish chocolate, and (Arabian) Turkish Delight. Oh, and Simpson & Vail's Nutcracker tea, a "delectable tea blend comprised of black tea, almond pieces, orange peel, cranberries and cinnamon & chocolate mint flavors."

Unfortunately, my choice of DVD was a bit of a flop. I think kids would enjoy it because the two main roles of Marie and the Nutcracker are played by young children, but that meant that dancing was scarce in the first act. When we got to Act II, I found the choreography frankly boring. Afterward I looked up the Baryshnikov/Kirkland production on YouTube and realized I should have stuck with that version for spectacular dancing. I'm thinking next December...


  1. I just watched this over the beautiful!

  2. What a beautifully laid-out tea! And such a good idea. I wonder if I could persuade my other half that he wants to do something similar... ;-)

    In England, the Royal Ballet is screening The Nutcracker just before Christmas at cinemas, so check their website - there could be a DVD to come!

  3. I just love your family tradition. Something I would love to start some day. I can't get over your lovely tea. It is so so beautiful.
    I have been so enjoying your lovely blog and I marvel over your photography and sewing.

    In Christ
    ~ Marie

  4. I love this idea! Your tea looks so lovely, too. Our town has an annual production of the Nutcracker in which my daughter has participated for 6 years. Tonight was her first in-theater dress rehearsal as a member of the corps...what an emotional evening for the mama to see her little girl grown up and dancing as Snow and Spanish! I think I'll try to do a special "Nutcracker Tea" with her next year! Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings and "Sweet" Dreams!
    Amy P. in TN

  5. I love the way that you laid out the tea. I always associate the story of the Nutcracker with Advent - my Mum bought me a reusable advent calendar when I was about 8, each day is a mini book with a part of the story, and you read one each day and hang the books on the Christmas tree.

  6. Laura, that looks simply charming. What a lovely idea to include Douglas in the tradition. We love the idea of international treats and may be stealing it soon... :-D

    Karen (the Mrs.)

  7. Caroline, I hope you enjoyed it! :D

    wildernesshouse, thank you for letting me know! I really enjoyed the Royal Ballet's DVD of "Coppélia," and it would be interesting to see their version of "The Nutcracker."

    Marie, thank you for your kind words. It's a tradition I hope to carry on with my future daughters, if God gives me any. :)

    Amy, how delightful! You must be so proud of your daughter. I always wanted the chance to dance in "The Nutcracker" but alas, it never happened.

    Rachel, that sounds like a sweet Advent calendar. I like the idea of being able to hang a new ornament each day.

    Karen, steal away! :) Douglas loves ethnic foods so he was keen on the idea, too.

  8. I love your silver candlesticks! I've kept my eye open for some at the antique stores, but they haven't had any reasonably priced ones recently. And those treats look and sound delectable! Do you have a international holiday cookbook or something? =)

  9. Cheri, to be honest, most of those treats came from the frozen food section or international aisle at the grocery store. ;) I made the blinis (which did come from one of my ethnic foods cookbooks) and the gingerbread scones from scratch. I've learned that the key to pulling off these types of celebrations and still being able to enjoy myself is to not try to "do it all."