Once upon a time, on Christmas Eve, a young girl named Clara waited eagerly with her younger brother Fritz for the their family’s Christmas party. Finally night fell, the candles were lit, the guests arrived, and the drawing room doors opened to reveal a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Children gathered under the tree and exchanged gifts, their parents danced and sipped champagne, and servants hurried to and fro with trays of sweets and warm drinks.
Late in the evening Clara’s godfather Drosselmeyer arrived. An eccentric genius, Drosselmeyer rather frightened the children, but he also thrilled them, for he made the most remarkable toys: life-sized dolls that danced and juggled and toy soldiers that marched in formation and fired toy guns. He’d also brought with him a special present for Clara: a large Nutcracker with fluffy white hair and an odd face. Clara loved the Nutcracker, and Fritz became jealous. When Clara turned to thank Drosselmeyer, Fritz seized the Nutcracker and threw it to the floor. The Nutcracker’s jaw cracked and broke, and Clara burst into tears. Drosselmeyer wrapped a handkerchief around the Nutcracker’s jaw and told Clara to take good care of it, and it would heal. She cradled the Nutcracker in her arms for the rest of the party.
The night grew darker, the guests made their farewells, and Clara’s parents tucked her into bed. By midnight the house was silent, but Clara was unable to sleep; she worried for the Nutcracker, left all alone under the Christmas tree. So she snuck out of bed and crept downstairs to the drawing room. She wrapped the Nutcracker in her shawl and curled up on the sofa to sleep, when a scuttling noise in the corner of the room made her sit up in alarm. A small gray mouse skittered across the floor, then another, then another. Each mouse seemed to grow larger and larger, until they were bigger than Clara. It was odd– the toys and dolls under the tree seemed taller too; the toy soldiers in their barracks suddenly stood at life-sized attention, and the Christmas tree stretched towards the ceiling, towering high over Clara’s head. The giant mice began to crowd around her, and she turned to take the Nutcracker in her arms, only to discover that he stood tall at her side, his sword drawn.
The giant mice began to battle the toys and dolls, led by their terrifying King, with his seven crowned heads and seven waving tails. The Nutcracker bravely rallied the toy soldiers, but the mice slowly began the drive them back. The Mouse King challenged the Nutcracker to single combat, and for a while it was hard to tell who was the stronger fighter. Then the Nutcracker stumbled, and the Mouse King raised his sword for a killing stroke. Clara rushed forward and threw her slipper, striking directly at the Mouse King’s largest head. The Mouse King turned on her in fury, but the Nutcracker rose, drew his sword, and slew the Mouse King with a single stroke. The mice fled, the toy soldiers returned to their stations, and Clara turned to thank the Nutcracker for his bravery. Instead of the odd ugly doll, a handsome young man stood before her. He explained that he was an enchanted prince, transformed by curse into a Nutcracker, and that Clara’s love and bravery had helped him to defeat his enemy and break the curse. He offered to show her his kingdom, and she agreed to accompany him. Snow had begun to fall outside, and Clara and the Prince walked out into the night.
They travelled through a vast forest, silent but for the silvery fall of swirling snow. As they reached the end of the forest a soft golden glow rose before them, and they saw a beautiful shining city spread out before them. They arrived at the Kingdom of Sweets, the Prince’s home, ruled over by the benevolent Sugar Plum Fairy. She was overjoyed to see the Prince returned home, and she welcomed Clara warmly. The Prince told the Sugar Plum Fairy how Clara had saved him during the battle with the Mouse King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy declared that Clara should be made a princess of the Kingdom of Sweets as a reward for her heroism and courage. Clara and the Prince were invited to sit at a throne in the center of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s vast castle, where they were served a magnificent banquet and entertained by the Kingdom’s inhabitants.
Tea, hot chocolate, peppermint sticks, gumdrops, marzipan, coffee, and Turkish Delight all danced by in a swirl of light and color. A delicate dewdrop fairy led bouquets of blossoming flowers in an elegant waltz. Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy danced out on the arm of her Cavalier, and the couple dazzled the crowd with their beauty and elegance.
Clara hoped that the magical evening would never end, but as the dance went on, her thoughts swirled and became confused: a snowflake danced by with a toy soldier, a doll swept past with one of the tea dancers, and a small gray mouse scampered after one of the marzipan shepherdesses. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her dashing Cavalier disappeared amidst the crowd of sweets and flowers. Clara reached for the Prince’s hand, but he was gone; in his place stood her beloved Nutcracker. She blinked her eyes, and she found herself in her home, in bed, the Nutcracker at her side, as the light of Christmas morning shone through her bedroom window.
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Bra and Brazilian brief: Kitty by Tutti Rouge (c/o). Available in sizes 28-38 D-HH (UK), XS-XXL.
Suspender belt: Marlene by Dita Von Teese. Available in sizes 8-16 (XS-XL).
Stockings: Sheer Contrast Seamed Stockings in Violet via Kiss Me Deadly. Available in sizes S/M, M/L, XL.
Photos: Lydia Hudgens