Seeing a performance of "The Nutcracker" is one of the quintessential moments of the holiday season. Nothing conjures the magic of Christmas like the story of young Clara, who, after receiving a wooden nutcracker as a gift from her godfather on Christmas Eve, dreams of a nutcracker prince and his battle with a mouse king. Here are just a few of the many presentations of this classic story -- plus one special story time -- that are happening in and around Boston this year.
Essdras M. Suarez/The Boston Globe
"The Nutcracker presented by Boston Ballet," Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston. Through Dec. 29. Tues. - Sun. Times vary. Tickets start at $35. Weekend performances sell out quickly. www.bostonballet.org
"Urban Nutcracker," John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley St., Boston. Through Dec 22. Fri. - Sun. Times vary. $25 - $65.This performance mixes Tchaikovsky’s classic score with Duke Ellington’s jazz interpretation and puts a modern spin on the 19th century fairy tale. www.urbannutcracker.com
"Ballet Misha presents The Nutcracker," Anselm's College, 100 Saint Anselm St., Manchester, NH. Sat., Dec. 14, 1 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 1 p.m. $18 in advance, $20 at door. www.balletmisha.com
"The Nutcracker: Northeast Youth Ballet," The Collins Center, 100 Shawsheen Rd., Andover. Sat., Dec. 14, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 2 p.m. $26. www.northeastyouthballet.org
"Boston Ballet School Nutcracker Story Hour," Peabody Institute Library, 82 Main St., Peabody. Fri., Dec. 20, 10 - 11 a.m. Free. All ages. Interactive readings and ballet demonstrations of The Nutcracker story, led by a member of the Boston Ballet School faculty. www.bostonballet.org
"The Nutcracker: Dance Prism," The Collins Center, 100 Shawsheen Rd. Andover. Sat., Dec. 21, 2:30 & 6:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 22, 2:30 p.m. Adults, $24; children & seniors, $18. www.danceprism.com
"The Nutcracker: Commonwealth Ballet," Casey Theatre, Regis College, 235 Wellesley St., Weston. Through Dec. 22. Fri. - Sun. Times vary. Adults, $25-$37; children and seniors, $20 - $30. Recommended for ages 4 and up. www.commonwealthballet.org
"The Nutcracker: José Mateo Ballet Theatre," The Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd., Dorchester. Fri., Dec 20, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 21, 2 & 6 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 22, 2 & 5:30 p.m. $15 - $50. www.ballettheatre.org
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.