Back in 1993, when [my son] was 3, we went to visit my mother for Christmas. This was the first time he had experienced an American Christmas and one of his big treats was being taken to see the San Francisco Ballet's production of the Nutcracker on Christmas Eve.
The Nutcracker is one of my favourite ballets and to see it performed by the SF Ballet is wonderful. A truly magical happening and on Christmas eve, they used to sing carols after the performance.
My son had not see the Nutcracker live before and was totally entranced with Clara's Nutcracker. At the interval my husband took him to look around as I was busy with our daughter who was a baby at the time. She was very good by the way and slept the entire way through the performance.
They came back to the seats and my son was very excited about the possibilities of a Nutcracker. My husband lifted an eyebrow, indicating that I should go and somehow get one, but I shook my head. It was Christmas Eve and there were loads of presents to come. To avoid a huge temper tantrum, I did concede that he could put an emergency letter up the chimney to Father Christmas but more than likely Father Christmas had left the North Pole. My son, tears filling in his eyes, agreed. The curtain went up and the second act started. Both my husband and I stayed in our seats and we did not leave the ballet with any extra packages. In fact, we purchased nothing at the ballet.
When we returned to my mother's house, my son duly put up his letter and excitedly talked about the nutcracker. My husband was quite cross with me btw and predicted a ruined Christmas. I said that my son would forget in the morning.
From this point on, no adult left the house to purchase anything. Nothing was purchased or brought into the house. Can I be clear on this point -- other than paying for parking that day, no money was spent and no presents were bought.
On Christmas morning, in front of the fireplace in pride of place stood a Nutcracker. Exactly like the one he had seen in the ballet. Father Christmas had come through. Even though, no one could have guessed that it would be the one thing my son would desire. Oh how my son's eyes shone!
I have told all my children when they can figure out how this happened, then they can tell me that Father Christmas does not exist.
The Nutcracker now slightly battered still graces our mantelpiece at Christmastime.
And even though my children are in their teens, they still have not been able to explain it. Or maybe they just like the magic.
Michelle told me:
"It is a true story and the fact that I might have wanted a nutcracker has never occurred to the children!"
Thanks for sharing, Michelle! What a wonderful Christmas memory.
Michelle is historical romance novelist who struggles to juggle her writing, family and the million other things which need to get done. Her publisher is Harlequin Mills and Boon Historicals. Her books include The Gladiator's Honour, A Noble Captive, Sold and Seduced, The Roman's Virgin Mistress, Taken by the Viking, A Christmas Wedding Wager, Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife, and An Impulsive Debutante.