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Welcome to the Land of Sweets: A Soirée Inspired by Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker"

In the classic ballet, a little girl named Clara discovers that her toy nutcracker has transformed into a handsome prince and she's whisked away into a whimsical winter fantasy. Our party is just as fantastical with a flurry of snowflakes, sugar plums piled high, ballerinas, toy soldiers, and of course, a dessert buffet of sparkly treats and shimmering sweets -- all entirely on pointe.

Photography by: Katya De Grunwald

Act I


The Party Scene

Where to start? Take inspiration from the plot. Think back to your own childhood, and you may remember the opening scene: It's Christmas Eve, the tree is decorated from top to bottom with presents piled underneath, and the guests are arriving at your doorstep. For a sophisticated display, this silvertip fir was draped with shimmering icicles, glitter-coated glass ornaments, and snowflakes to evoke new-fallen snow.

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Photography by: David Meredith

Then, something magical happens. As the clock strikes midnight, what's small is suddenly rendered larger than life -- from the tree to the toys underneath it. Play with scale and surprise your guests with over-sized decorations, like this colossal Christmas cracker.

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The Battle of the Mouse King

Uh oh! Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a thousand angry mice scurrying underfoot. But there's no need to panic. Unlike the ones in the play, the little ones at your party won't go home without holiday cheer. Kids can scamper off nibbling on their candy cane mice.

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Photography by: Aaron Dyer

Waltz of the Snowflakes

When the fighting has ceased and the dust settles, little Clara is awestruck by her nutcracker toy which has transformed into a real-life prince. They enter the enchanted forest, awhirl with a flurry of snowflakes! When cut from giant squares of glittery wrapping paper, they make a stunning backdrop for a buffet.

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Act II


Dance of the Angels

When the curtain rises on the second act of this party, the orchestral score swells and the stage reveals a heavenly scene complete with floating angels. No ballet-inspired soiree would be complete without a ballerina's go-to fabric: tulle. Here, we used it -- in the form of poufs spritzed with pink spray-paint -- to frame a doorway that leads to the dessert buffet -- also known as The Land of Sweets.

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Photography by: Will Anderson

The Land of Sweets

On the menu? Think of all the desserts of your dreams: caramel-nougat swirls, miniature meringue trees, eggnog crème-brulee tartlets, gingered sugar cookies, and anything else your imagination craves. If you can envision it, you can eat it.

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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


Cue the tinkling music. Here, take a more decidedly literal interpretation of ballet's most adored fairy with this feast for the eyes: a sugary-shimmery pile of seasonal fruits. At the end of the night, you'll earn a standing ovation.

Get the Sugar "Plums" Holiday Centerpiece How-To