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Sweeten Up! 

Perhaps you, dear friend, are having trouble getting into the holiday spirit. You've baked a few cookies, done a bit of shopping and listened to some carols, but you're still not feeling it. Ms. Day understands. She had the same problem until very recently when she celebrated what can only be described as Nutcracker Christmas Saturday. During this full day of Nutcrackers — she attended two lovely versions: one onstage and one on ice — she not only felt the hustle-bustle inherent to the holidays as she was rushing from show to show, but she also experienced the joy of friendship, a sense of peace (thanks to Tchaikovsky's beautiful music) and general holiday happiness. And that, my friend, is the best present in the world. Why, she was so filled with warm-fuzzy feelings that she ran straight home and threw up the ol' tannenbaum — being sure to include a nutcracker ornament, mind you — and sang carols all the while! You, too, can get super-motivated and do up a whole weekend of The Nutcracker if you choose: Two companies present versions of the classic ballet at two different venues. Missouri Ballet Theatre fills Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or with dancing and sugar plums at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (December 18 through 20); tickets cost $25 to $38. Plus, Saint Louis Ballet festoons the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or with its own production of The Nutcracker; some of these performances are narrated for the little ones, and there are even tea parties! The Saint Louis Ballet performs at various times Friday through Tuesday (December 18 through 22; no shows on Monday), and tickets cost $25 to $47 (tea parties cost $28 to $45 extra).
Dec. 18-20; Tue., Dec. 22, 2009

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