Thanks to James Avery Artisan Jewelry for sponsoring this story. All opinions are my own. I'm not sure when our family obsession with The Nutcracker began. Was it the ballet? Could it have been reading the story together during the Christmas season? Listening to the Maestro Classics version performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Storyteller Jim Weiss? While I enjoyed the story as a child, and I remember sitting on the edge of my seat while The Mouse King and The Nutcracker battled during the ballet. It wasn't something that I sought out to start a Christmas tradition, it just sort of happened, as most grand things do.
If you've read Beauty in the Mess for any length of time, you know that I have four children who aren't quite so small anymore – our oldest is eight and the youngest is three. I have always desired to start Christmas traditions with my children, but so many Christmases were spent simply trying to survive the day. Grandiose ideas of nightly Christmas stories, getting everyone in pajamas to head out to look at Christmas lights while drinking hot cocoa and making Christmas cookies were all but a reality. Sometimes we made it happen, but it was always rushed and not super organized.
I think that's why The Nutcracker has such a special meaning to us. We fell in love with the music, the story, and the characters. They came into our lives during a time of uncertainty and year after year they bring a semblance of normalcy and familiarity. No matter where we live, we feel at home.
The Nutcracker Tea
The first year we saw The Nutcracker ballet, we were living in North Carolina. I read there was a performance geared towards children, so I jumped at the opportunity. We made it a Mommy-Daughter date night to the ballet, and it was everything I envisioned it would be.
When we moved to Colorado, our traditions changed somewhat. We had to figure out what was in this new place and when everything happened.
To my extreme delight, I learned about The Nutcracker Tea. I bought tickets for my oldest daughter and myself and again, we made a date of it.
It was magical.
It was just what we needed to bring us back and forget how stressful it is to move and learn everything over again. A story that was familiar. The struggle between good and evil. The wonder of whether it was a dream or reality. The magic of being moved by the music and traveling with Clara and the Nutcracker. I knew that this was our new Christmas tradition. It wasn't planned or orchestrated, it just happened, and it is grand.
For now, this is a tradition that I share with my daughters. Eventually, though, we will attend the ballet as a family. It is both a highlight for the eight-year-old and the three-year-old.
A Charmed Christmas
When choosing gifts, I tend to be one who likes to have meaning behind the gift. I love telling stories through pictures and gift giving. When I saw the Nutcracker charm in the James Avery catalog, I knew it would be perfect for my girls. Not only do they love the charm, but as they age, the charm will continue to remind them of the magical times we spent together in their youth. And as they hold the charm in their hands, my hope is that they feel my love through the delicate and lovely piece of jewelry that I know they will always treasure.
James Avery is more than jewelry. It’s a symbol of faithfulness and the comfort of strongly held beliefs. It’s a means to hold our loved ones close when they are far away. It’s saying “I love you” every day. James Avery is more than a store. It’s your story.
Make this Christmas one to remember with James Avery artisan jewelry.
What Is Your Christmas Story?
For inspiring James Avery stories and the jewelry that helps tell them, such as Kathy’s family tree bracelet, visit and share your own stories with #MyJamesAvery and #ACharmedChristmas on social media.