It's that time, to drag out all the holiday trimmings. Or in my case, carry great boxes down stairs from a barn loft, load into a truck bed, then carry them indoors. Unpack from smaller boxes, dust hats and boots, and re-glue a eyebrow, a mustache or two. Oh, but it's worth it.
It all began with this figurine, that was around long before I was. At Christmastime, it got gently unpacked and placed in a wooded shadow box near the tree. I was intrigued by the fairy story behind this figurine of Clara holding her nutcracker. I received my first nutcracker (below) and a book full of dreamy illustrations in 1991.
During this time, there existed a magical shop (in the mall of all places): The Haus of Bavaria. I would peruse this small shop in wonder, like a kid in a candy store (they did, in fact have German candies which I often bought). I still have a wooden ornament that my brother gave me from the Haus as well as a small replica of those giant bells worn by cattle in Bavaria. Of course, I saw many a Nutcracker in the Haus of Bavaria. I was so intrigued by other cultures and Christmas traditions were the first window into other countries that I had.
A few years later when I was 8 or 9, my best friend was cast in the production of the Nutcracker by the Springfield Ballet. This was a big deal, and I have a memory of either going with her to auditions or to a practice. Of course, I made it to opening night at an old time theatre and watched in wonder as the story unfolded - the sort of scary Mr. Drosselmeier, dancing clowns and toys, sugarplum fairies, and a kingdom of ice. I have been getting a Nutcracker every Christmas since, to be opened on Christmas Eve. My husband began giving me one a year as well after we met. So I now have 44 and counting! Plus some ornaments and the figurine. Check in often to meet more of my Nutcracker fleet. Up next, a little history.