The refrigerator is full of turkey and other leftovers. The decorations on the mantle have been changed up again. Lights are popping up all over the neighborhood. It feels like everything has shifted and the new focus is on Christmas. Like a lot of people, this is my favorite time of year.
One of my favorite Christmas memories is being little and getting all dressed up to go into Chicago. My mom and I took the train in from Geneva and met my dad at his office. He took the afternoon off and the four of us went around the city. The first stop on the list, and my favorite, was Marshall Fields. Their holiday window displays were pure magic. One of the best displays they did was the holiday classic The Nutcracker.
I think most of us are familiar with the story, but just in case here's my quick synopsis of this version. (Like so many classic stories, there area lot of small variations among them.) It's Christmas Eve and a little girl named Marie is given a nutcracker by her godfather. Her godfather is an eccentric man who makes all sorts of marvelous toys and clockwork things. During the night, the nutcracker comes to life and defeats the King of the Mice with Marie's help. After the King of the mice is defeated, the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince. He takes Marie to his kingdom in the land of sweets and she and her nutcracker live happily ever after.
I love the magic in the story. I love the strange world that Marie and her prince visit, and the things that they see there. It's easy for me to get lost in the imagery and pulled into the beautiful world that is created by Marie's imagination, or perhaps in some fashion by her godfather.