Based on the story E.T.A. Hoffman
It was Christmas eve. Marie and Fritz could hardly wait for the Christmas party to begin!
Behind the closed doors of the living room, the butler and maid were decorating for the Stahlbaums’ Christmas party. The room was filled with the sweet smells of hot chocolate and gingerbread, peppermint, marzipan and sugarplums.
Soon the guests and their children arrived, and the big doors were opened wide. There in the middle of the room stood the most beautiful tree Marie and Fritz had ever seen!
It sparkled with the light of a hundred candles. Toys, cookies, and candy canes hung from the branches. Underneath the tree were colorful gifts of all shapes and sizes, and a golden star was shining brightly at the top. As the children gazed at the gifts with anticipation their parents waltzed and toasted to the Christmas spirit.
Suddenly a strange figure appeared dressed in a dark cape and a mysterious patch over one eye and the guests began to whisper excitedly. Lo and behold it was Herr Drosselmeyer the famous toymaker and Marie’s favorite Uncle.
The Butler followed Herr Drosselmeyer with an enormous box filled with presents. The boys and girls dutifully lined up to receive their gifts. Fritz snatched a doll from Marie’s hands which began a fierce tug of war.
Then Herr Drosselmeyer presented a jeweled covered bag to Mr. Stahlbaum that contained a magical gold sword. Mrs. Stahlbaum was given a new pair of dance shoes. Herr Drosselmeyer saved the best for last and presented Marie with a very special present. It was a wooden nutcracker shaped like a little soldier. She was thrilled and gave Herr Drosselmeyer a big hug. She showed it to her friends who admired it greatly.
Soon the party was over and the children reluctantly went off to bed. The Nutcracker was tucked safely under the tree and the remaining guests said their last goodbyes.
But Marie couldn’t sleep. She crept downstairs to see her nutcracker one more time. On the floor under the Christmas tree, she rocked the Nutcracker and fell fast asleep. Herr Drosselmeyer appeared and created magic above the sleeping Marie.
The clock chimed midnight. Marie woke with a start, not knowing where she was. She looked around the dark room and realized that everything around her was growing bigger!
The Christmas tree towered above her.
Suddenly Marie heard the sound of footsteps. She turned and saw an army of huge mice charging toward a regiment of toy soldiers. Herr Drosselmeyer came to the rescue. Marie jumped into his arms.
The toy soldiers fought hard, but there were too many mice. Then the Queen of the Mice knocked the Nutcracker down. With an evil laugh, she stabbed the Nutcracker, and paraded around victoriously.
Oh, no! thought Marie. I must do something! She took off her slipper and threw it at the Mouse Queen. The shoe hit her head and knocked her out. Herr Drosselmeyer appeared and made the defeated mice retreat. He turned to the Nutcracker and brought him to life, transforming him into a real prince.
Herr Drosselmeyer took the Mouse Queen’s crown and placed it on Marie.
The Prince smiled at Marie and said, “My dear Marie, thank you for helping me win the battle. Now let me take you to my kingdom, the Land of Sweets.”
The Nutcracker Prince and Marie rode through the snowy woods to his palace. Waiting at the gates were twelve angels to greet them.
The Sugar Plum Fairy showed Marie and the Nutcracker Prince into a sparkling crystal hall where they sat upon a huge golden throne.
“Let the festivities begin!” said the Sugar Plum Fairy. All the happy people of the Land of Sweets came to dance in honor of Marie and the Prince’s arrival.
First, chocolate slithered out of the crowd in a fiery Spanish dance that melted stamping feet and twisting shoulders into a creamy swirl.
Then the tantalizing figure of Arabian coffee drifted by, floating in a cloud of veils as light and lacy as foam.
Chinese tea burst into the room like a stream of sunshine. Bubbling gaily, they bowed again and again to the Prince and Marie.
Next came the boisterous Russian peppermints, who tumbled head over heels past the throne, spraying slivers of energy everywhere!
A flock of Marzipan shepherdesses brought a touch of gentleness to the procession of tasty treats.
Mother Ginger swept into the palace wearing a large hoopskirt which hid a surprise- a band of mischievous children who did a merry dance!
At last the candied flowers of the land came to perform a lovely waltz. Their swirling colors and sweet perfume made Marie and the Prince dizzy with happiness.
Finally, the SugarPlum Fairy reappeared, with her own handsome Cavalier by her side. Their elegant poise and gentle grace transformed their dance into a magical dream.
“What a beautiful place this is!” sighed Marie.
“You can always visit in your dreams,” said the Nutcracker Prince with a smile.
The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier waved farewell as Marie and the Nutcracker Prince stepped back into the magic sleigh and were carried high above the clouds to their next adventure.