Given the crass phenomena of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and radio Christmas music in October, we should be more grateful than ever for the beloved bulwarks that define the yuletide season. Chief among these is the Joffrey Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, now celebrating its 25th year. In the traditional tale, told terpsichoreally, young Clara's godfather presents her with an ornate nutcracker that — conveniently for dramatic purposes — comes to life and whisks her to a magical, toy-filled land. The Joffrey's 2012 model features 118 young dancers joining the full professional company, with live accompaniment of Tchaikovsky's classic score from the Chicago Philharmonic. We recommend spicing up your holiday shopping with this sentimental favorite, much as you might sprinkle nutmeg onto your buttered rum or egg nog.”
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