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November 14, 2013
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Marla Smart: Our "Nutcracker" family tradition | Moms

Traditions are very important to me. A long-standing tradition can bring families together in ways that not much else can. It warms my heart to hear my not-so-little children saying things like, “Remember when,” and “Aren’t we doing ________ like we’ve done before?”

What I see is that whatever the season, something is made more memorable by a tradition. True, you can be overwhelmed by too many traditions. In fact, it could bog down a perfectly beautiful celebration if every moment had to include a tradition of some sort.

But, to have a few special traditions for your family to look forward to each year can be a precious thing.

The big holiday season is coming soon. We are making grocery lists and shopping lists and to do lists and wish lists...oh, so many lists!

Lists are already beginning for me, but the real start of the Christmas season for our family is the annual performance of “The Nutcracker.”

When my oldest was small, I was able to take her to enjoy the ballet. Now, our family goes together to watch our youngest perform.

For those who do not know, “The Nutcracker” is performed by the Eugene Ballet Company at the Umpqua Community College’s Jacoby Auditorium and includes quite a few talented locals.

The dance students from our area audition in September and spend weekends through October and November rehearsing for the performance, where they join the Eugene Company.

Throughout the years, we have watched our daughter dance as an adorable mouse, a beautiful angel, an energetic ladybug, and an excited party guest. Her age and experience have not allowed her to be a part of the flower corps yet.

Last year, an emergency caused my husband and me to miss the first part of the performance. Our older children both called (separately) to assure us that they would represent us to their sister, asking if they should buy her flowers.

It touched my heart as a mom that they would ask, and also showed me this is important to all of us. It has become a treasured tradition in the Smart home.

Each time we enter Jacoby Auditorium and find our seats to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, excitement builds. Smiles all around, as proud parents and local fine arts supporters wait expectantly for the lights to lower and the music to rise.

Little girls, dressed in their very best, waiting to experience the magic for the first time and those of us who have had the pleasure of watching before, gather together to enjoy this community tradition.

It’s different than the everyday things we do. We dress up and sit properly in our seats, applauding where appropriate, and holding bouquets to give to our little “stars.”

It has become a special family activity for us, a tradition that none wants to part with. And once we leave the auditorium, I (at least) can say the season has started.

Maybe “The Nutcracker” is or will become a tradition for your family as well. Mark your calendar for November 24 at 3 p.m.

You can buy your reserved seating tickets in advance at Northwest Lifestyles, 445 S.E. Jackson St. for $13 or $15 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights.

...to have a few special traditions for your family to look forward to each year can be a precious thing.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 19, 2013 03:33PM Published Nov 22, 2013 11:30AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.