Game on! Ovation TV pits six versions of the classic against each other in the “Battle of the Nutcrackers.” The contest begins the first week of December, when you can cast your vote at OvationTV.com. The victorious Nut will get prime airtime on Christmas Eve. But if your pick doesn’t win, don’t get salty! Ovation TV will air all six versions on Christmas Day. —Monica Levy
- Mark Morris’ Emmy-nominated The Hard Nut is a funny, contemporary take on the classic. Plus, it was last year’s champ.
- On the more traditional front, Balanchine’s joyous interpretation features the New York City Ballet and our favorite Home Alone star, Macaulay Culkin.
- Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! adds new twists to the plot that explode with color. Watch this Willy Wonka–esqueversion with candy nearby.
- Bolshoi Ballet’s staging features Natalya Arkhipova and Irek Mukhamedov and has home advantage—Tchaikovsky was from Russia, where the ballet premiered in the late 1800s!
- Performed by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Maurice Béjart’s take is a reimagined show with new characters and French pop music added to the traditional score.
- Nutcracker: The Motion Picture, is performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It’s closest to the original tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann.