It was a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. The Stahlbaums had prepared for their annual Christmas celebration all day. Godfather Drosselmeier and his apprentice nephew had worked long and hard preparing this year’s magical gifts and were putting the final touches on their creations.
Clara and Fritz, who had been waiting all day outside the drawing room to see the Christmas decorations, were beginning to grow impatient, as was Grandfather. The guests begin to arrive and all the children want desperately to see the tree. The Stahlbaums always had the most beautiful tree. Finally Herr Stahlbaum agrees to open the doors and let the festivities begin.
Arriving late to the party as usual was Godfather Drosselmeier. He is a skilled clock and toy maker and always full of surprises. Clara was very excited to see him. He had brought his nephew who none of the guests had met before. Clara was immediately enamored of him. Drosselmeier draws everyone’s attention as he presents three small dolls which he magically grows to life-size. They are the delight of the party, each taking a turn to dance.
Clara begs Drosselmeier for the dolls but is unsuccessful. Instead, her gift is to be a beautiful Nutcracker that becomes the hit of the party. Fritz becomes jealous and, having a bit more spunk than a boy should have, grabs the nutcracker from Clara and promptly breaks it. Heartbroken, Clara looks on as Drosselmeier quickly repairs the Nutcracker with a handkerchief.
As the evening grows late, the guests depart and the Stahlbaum family retires for the evening. Clara, wanting to be with her beloved Nutcracker, sneaks back to the tree to check on him when a small rat chases her on the stroke of midnight. As a new day begins strange things begin to occur. The once small rat is now life size and has friends with him. They surround Clara overwhelming her into a deep sleep.
With Clara asleep, Drosselmeier returns to magically bring the toys to life and cause the tree to grow high into the air. The final part of his gift to Clara is to make the Nutcracker life-size.
Clara is awakened by the shot of a rifle and surprised to see the rats and all of the toy soldiers, now life-size, in battle. The Rat King appears and challenges the Nutcracker to a duel. The Nutcracker fights a courageous fight but is no match for the Rat King. Clara distracts the Rat King just enough so the Nutcracker can strike a fatal blow which breaks a spell that was on the Nutcracker, turning him back into the Prince of the Land of Sweets.
Thanking Clara, he asks her to accompany him to his homeland. Along the way they visit the Land of the Snow where the Snow Queen and King dance with their beautiful Snowflakes.
As they arrive at the Land of Sweets they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Prince tells her about their daring battle with the rats and in their honor the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to sweets and dances from around the land.
At the end of the celebration Clara is whisked off to her home where she will, with memories she would certainly never forget, awake from her dream!
Unless, it wasn’t a dream…