Home for the holidays

Dearest Clara,

It is dark. The house is silent. As I sit beside the Christmas tree writing to you, the moon’s butter glow is partially masked by the wisps of passing clouds. Our annual party has ended, and your uncle has given you a handsome nutcracker and with it a magical dream.

Tonight I am giving you another. This nutcracker is not handsome. She is beautiful. She is strong and she is graceful. She is witty and bright. She is you.

A reminder of what’s within you.

This nutcracker is holding another, a miniature version of your uncle’s gift. When you are holding your dreams, your hands are full of possibility, not gripped by fear. When your eyes are focused on the radiance of the wishes in front of you, the dark pull of worry falls behind you.

A reminder to cradle your hopes.

This nutcracker is wearing red pointe shoes. Shoes that will help you hold your center, ground you in good moments, lift you over obstacles when there are hurdles along the way. Shoes that will always guide you. Just click your heels.

A reminder that there is no place like home.

Home. For all of your childhood it has been here, with us. Yet you are no longer a little girl, you are becoming a young woman. A woman who will soon leave our home. So this nutcracker is smaller. She’s ready for travel, and adventures unknown. Whether you are out exploring the world alone, or are surrounded by a world full of others, she will be there for you. With you.

Home. It is not a single place. For a time it may be a small apartment, or a shared space. It may be the contents of a suitcase. It may be nomadic. Here with us for the holidays, then back there to the circles of friends you have gathered into a tribe, into a family.

Home. It is not determined by location or configuration. Home—a real, true home is a place where you love and are loved. It is that simple. And that profound. Love is a home’s only necessity.

And here beside the tree there will always be a place for you. Return whenever you need us, carry us in your heart wherever you go. And we will hold space for you and your dreams. Always.

With all my love,


Mama Stahlbaum


{This is the 6th year I have performed in The Nutcracker, my 5th as Clara’s mother, and the 4th time I’ve written a letter to the two young women dancing as Clara.  Here’s a link to the one from last year, the year before and the original.}

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