When I was a little girl, my mother took me to see The Nutcracker every December. It was a fancy occasion – we dressed up and went out just the two of us to see the show in our little college town. Every year brought a different visiting company with a slightly different spin on the holiday classic, but every year seeing The Nutcracker meant the holiday season had arrived.

Last year, I took my daughter to see The Nutcracker for the first time. At three and a half, I wasn’t sure if she was ready to sit through a full-length production. I decided to take my chances on an early evening show close to home – and not only did she make it through the full show, my daughter came home ready to stage her own production. This year, we decided to try something a little different and headed downtown to see The Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre.

For a truly DC Nutcracker experience, there’s nothing like The Washington Ballet.  Set in historic Washington with George Washington as the Nutcracker himself, this production sees Clara transported not to the Land of Sweets but to the Land of Cherry Blossoms on the banks of the Potomac. Dancing cherry blossoms and Anacostia Indians dazzle before the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage.

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My daughter with Miss Liberty and John Paul Jones.

Here in the DC area, we’re lucky to have lots of Nutcracker options to choose from, ranging from full-length productions to abbreviated shows geared towards children.  Here are just a few of the shows being offered this holiday season:

The Maryland Youth Ballet’s Mini Nut is a great way to introduce children to The Nutcracker. At under an hour with afternoon and morning show times, the show features all the highlights of the full performance: the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the Snow Queen and her dancing snowflakes, and the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Kingdom of Sweets.

The MBT also offers a full-length performance of The Nutcracker at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus. MBT’s traditional take has been voted both Outstanding Production in Classical Dance and Outstanding Youth Performance by Metro DC Dance Awards. Both afternoon and evening performances are offered.

The Olney Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker features student performers with professional guest dancers. On December 22, OBT will host a Nutcracker Performance and Tea. Guests receive a complimentary photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy!

Looking for something a little different? Glen Echo’s Puppet Company offers two versions of The Nutcracker: a 50 minute show geared towards children ages 5 and up and a 30 minute “Nutcracker Fantasy” aimed at ages 0-4.

The Virginia Ballet Company & School boasts the longest-running performance in Northern Virginia. With both afternoon and evening performances, the show features more than 100 students.

The Ballet Arts Ensemble of Fairfax offers a 75 minute “Nutcracker in a Nutshell” perfect for young children. Both afternoon and evening performances are offered.

The DC Moms has a four pack of tickets to The Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker to give away to one lucky reader! The winner will get a choice of performance dates.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – good luck!

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My daughter and I received tickets to The Nutcracker in exchange for promoting the show.  


Allison writes about life at home in the Maryland suburbs at Home and Never Alone.