Because us bunheads don't know a holiday season without The Nutcracker (Getty Images/cglade)

5 Ways to Feel the Holiday Spirit in a "Nutcracker"-less Year

Trick or treating is done, the jack-o-lanterns are all thrown out, and we *should* be right in the peak of Nutcracker rehearsal season. But for dancers still dealing with (sadly necessary) COVID-19 restrictions on rehearsals and performances, a year without the Nutcracker can seem less than sweet.

But we at Dance Spirit will always find a way to celebrate. Here are five safe ways to channel the Nutcracker joy this holiday season.

Jam to nutty tunes

Tchaikovsky knew what he was doing when he composed this score. It's full of jams, bops, and dare we say, bangers. Even if you aren't rehearsing "Waltz of the Flowers" for hours on end this year, try listening to the music while you stretch, bake, or take a walk, as one way to channel the holiday spirit.

Bake some sweet treats

Haven't we all dreamed of trying Spanish Hot Chocolate or Mother Ginger's bonbons? Flex your creativity in the kitchen by making recipes inspired by all of the flavors from the Land of Sweets.

Take a trip down memory lane

Flip through old scrapbooks or watch DVDs of Nutcrackers past with your friends or family—the footage of you as a darling party child or demented tiny rat will be either really cute or really funny. Post the highlights to social media and tag your former castmates for a Nutcracker-themed #TBT, and watch the likes roll in.

Think to the future

While it still feels like the world is on pause, it might be the perfect time to imagine a better future. While we *love* The Nutcracker and almost all that goes with it, some versions of the ballet suffer from outdated and culturally insensitive interpretations in choreography and costuming.

If your studio's version of the Nutcracker includes choreography or costumes that border on racial caricature, consider reaching out to your studio directors with how you feel and offer up some resources, like the Final Bow For Yellowface pledge.

Take the theatre home

You can't (or at least, you probably shouldn't) attend a live performance in your pajamas, but with some ballet companies offering downloads of performances from previous holiday seasons, there's nothing to stop you from curling up under a blanket with some hot chocolate to watch Clara/Marie's classic story unfold from the comfort of your home. Pop some popcorn, and make a night of it.

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