Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Nutcracker Classic Christmas Tablescape

Hello, readers! Are you making preparations for the holidays? Today I have a Nutcracker Classic Christmas Tablescape to share with you as part of a springboard of ideas for you to consider for dressing your holiday table. This tablescape (previously not shown) completes my Cottage Christmas Home Tour which I shared last week.
After your visit here, I encourage you to feast your eyes on an entire showcase of Christmas holiday tablescape ideas with a blog hop I'm hosting. You will find all the participating table stylists further in this post, with direct links to each. You won't want to miss a single one!
While I was planning my tablescape around the Classic Nutcracker theme, I wanted to pay tribute to my family's dance participation in classic (traditional) Nutcracker productions of the past. Our city ballet began staging the full-length Nutcracker in 1997, which was the year I retired from the Charleston Ballet, but my girls grew up with the experience. 

I decided to use the dining room as "my theater" to display my nutcrackers in vignettes to coordinate with my tablescape "stage" for my Nutcracker Classic Tablescape. The fireplace is flanked by my tallest nutcrackers.
The bookcase shelves to the right of the fireplace are also decorated with numerous nutcrackers.
Of particular note are the two wooden ones on the lower shelf. They came as part of a set, and the other four are used on the table as place card holders. The musical egg ornament was a souvenir from Williamsburg. It opens to a rotating adult party scene of Act I of the Nutcracker, with Tchaikovsky's music that is actually the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from Act II.
In 2003, the Charleston Ballet's Nutcracker was a family affair (newspaper photo below). My oldest daughter was the Sugar Plum Fairy, and my younger daughter was the Spanish Dancer, both in Act II. Mr. P. and I were in the party scene of Act I. My girls have danced various roles in the Nutcracker from childhood through adulthood. The oldest daughter was Clara in 2004, although the role of Sugar Plum Fairy is arguably more difficult as a dancer, technically speaking. 
My table was set with intentions of portraying images of both acts of the Nutcracker as best as I could.
A closer look of the centerpiece reveals scenes from both Acts I and II of the Nutcracker.
On the left side, there is Drosselmeyer, the Mouse King, and the Prince Nutcrackers from Act I's famous battle scene in Clara's dream. Central to the photo is the larger-than-life Christmas tree which grows during Clara's dream.
To the right of the tree is the Snow Queen and the Prince Nutcracker, as depicted in Act II in the grand pas de deux. Notably, one is not likely to find a Nutcracker Prince ornament or statue without the classic character headpiece, although he does not wear it once transformed into the real life prince in the ballet.
Y'all, being the gliterphobe that I am, I just could NOT bring myself to open the bag of snow I purchased and fully intended to use on this table! Instead, I used a string of snowflake lights and dried florals. ❅

Each place setting was outfitted with a small wooden nutcracker as place card. 
A hand-painted and decoupaged oyster shell token gift ornament sits to the the left of the place setting. These were purchased from a recent Hope Village bazaar by a local church, with all proceeds going to the organization out of North Carolina called Fields of Hope USA. It is an organization whose mission is to empower girls and young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
There are even Nutcrackers on the half table behind the dining table.
These are hand-painted pointe shoes by a Charleston Ballet dancer, created as a fundraiser for the company.
Our dining room also features our Christmas tree, and the room is open to the family room and kitchen just beyond.
In the opposite direction, the fireplace keeps the dining area cozy and warm.
Please enjoy all of the holiday themed tables from the talented stylists below. The links below will take you directly to each of their tables.
Home Is Where the Boat Is - 'Tis The Season for Plaid & Peppermint
Panoply (you are here!) - Nutcracker Classic Christmas Tablescape
Everyday Living - Old TIme Christmas
My Thrift Store Addiction - Enchanted Forest Christmas Tablescape
Hyacinths for the Soul - Christmas Joy
From My Carolina Home - Vintage Christmas Tablescape
The Painted Apron - December Birthday Celebration
The Little Yellow Corner Store - A Candy Land Breakfast
Life and Linda - Plaid Tidings with Santa
Corner of Plaid and Paisley - Dreaming of a Christmas White and Sweet
Red Cottage Chronicles - Cranberry and Gold Christmas Tablescape
The Bookish Dilettante - Christmas Sweets

As always, I provide a list of my sources for elements used in my tablescapes. This list is a memory jogger for me for future tablescaping, but is also intended to provide you with helpful outlets when doing your own. I have no affiliation with any of the sources.

Source List for Nutcracker Classic Christmas Tablescape
White Tablecloth - HomeGoods
Placemats as Runner, Napkins - April Cornell
Flatware (Fortessa Luca) - Horchow
Green Stemware - Dollar Tree
Clear Glassware - Vintage Mr. P.
Plaid Chargers - Williams Sonoma
Majolica Dinner Plates - Vintage
Nutcracker Salad Plates, Drosselmeyer, Mouse King and Wooden (smaller, natural) Nutcrackers - Hobby Lobby
Napkin Rings, Nutcracker (ornament on table centerpiece) - MacKenzie-Childs
Nutcracker Oyster Ornaments - Hope Village 
Green Glass Centerpiece Tree - Blenko
Snowflake Lights, Dried florals on centerpiece - Michael's
Nutcracker Prince and Ballerina Ornament on table centerpiece - collected over past years

If you have never been to a Nutcracker production, I strongly encourage you to see a live performance or try to catch one on YouTube, such as this Nutcracker by George Balanchine for NYC Ballet

I so appreciate you taking time to visit today. I hope you've been inspired. I'd love for you to leave a comment, letting me know you visited. And if your comment shows as anonymous, please leave your [first] name so I may be able to identify you and reply. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 Rita C. at Panoply
A special thank you to Bev at Eclectic Red Barn TFT for featuring this post!


  1. Oh how fun Rita! I love the newspaper photo of your family in Charleston Ballet's Nutcracker! You and Mr. P look so elegant as party goers in your finery and your girls so poised and beautiful. How fun they followed you in your pointe shoes/footsteps! 🩰
    I have majolica plate envy with the beautiful border detail and my eyes zeroed right in on those gorgeous MKC tree napkin rings! 😍 I love those pretty nutcracker plates too, and everything framed with your plaid chargers, tartan plaid runner and napkins. I had to chuckle about your ‘glitterphobia’. I have used Epsom and rock salt for an icy and snow-covered landscape on the table as those little snowflakes become airborne with the slightest movement. Love those handsome nutcrackers flanking your fireplace as well as your collection in your bookcase. As always it’s a treat to join you at the table! Thanks so much for all your organizing efforts for these hops. Merry Tuesday❣️🎄

  2. What is that old saying Rita...great minds think alike? I, too featured The Nutcracker in my table setting. However, I have not gotten out my collection of nutcrackers this year as I am trying to go sparingly on my decor. In the past... Think 13, yes 13 nine foot and 12 foot trees fully decorated in each room of the house (different themes of course) starting with 7 ft nutcrackers flanking our outside entry. LOL
    Having said that I love your homage to The Nutcracker. Your collection around your room and on your table is beautiful and so Christmas-y and timely. The lovely picture of your family is fitting and your girls charming. How nice to have such memories of their talents and yours too. Napkin rings...perfect...the ever growing Christmas tree...appropriate...the nutcracker plates...charming! And "snow" or no "snow" , you have styled your table to conjure up sugar plums dancing in my head. Thanks again for your organizational skills at getting us all together in the virtual spirit of Christmas!

  3. Rita, I love this! I must tell you that DIL took the girls to see the Nutcracker performed by the Alabama Ballet. EK cried when it was over, she wanted more dancing! The photo of you, Mr P, and daughters is a wonderful memory. I agree with Mary, you and hubby look so elegant and your girls are gorgeous. Rita, my collection of Steinbach nutcrackers had to stop, it was overtaking all other collections. Your nutcrackers are very handsome standing guard by the fireplace. I love the vintage majolica, AC placemats and napkins, MKC napkin rings, and of course, the HL nutcracker salad plates. I am still amazed by the hand-painted pointe shoes. Your thoughtful attention to detail is always spot on. It is a pleasure to join you at the table. I appreciate all you do to make the blog hops successful. Merry Tuesday ♥️

  4. What a beautiful table Rita, I love love love the dish stacking you did! The newspaper picture, oh wow! Thanks for telling me the story of it, how fun was that! That has to be historic?!? I bet you will remember that always. Merry Christmas!

  5. Rita, your tablescape brings back so many memories of hours watching the Nutcracker ballet and enjoying the beauty of the talented dancers. Such a lovely photo of you and your family performing together. I really enjoyed your collection of nutcrackers and how they encircle your room. I had to laugh at your glitter phobia. I used it for the first time on a tray this year and it goes everywhere. Loved the painted toe shoes and Nutcracker dessert plates. Thanks so much for all your work on putting this together. Merry Christmas!

  6. I love hearing about yours and your daughters' ballet days - what a great photo of the 4 of you and that must have been so special that your whole family was a part of the Nutcracker that year! Your theme is carried through with perfection and you have a wonderful collection! The favors are perfect. I don't think I have seen as many nutcrackers! As always I enjoy this hop! Enjoy the hoilday season!

  7. I can't think of anyone better equipped to do a Nutcracker-themed table than my favorite ballet blogger! You know it well and that comes out so clearly in the attention to detail in the vignettes. That nutcracker collection is amazing -- they're fabulous. Of course the table is beautiful and your guests will be so touched by their take-away ornament, which is not only beautiful and thematic but will help those who so need it. This is exquisite, Rita. Well done!

  8. I loved reading and seeing the pictures of your nutcracker theme, which holds such a special place in your heart. How wonderful that your daughters followed in your footsteps! Your collection of nutcrackers is amazing! How cozy your cottage looks in all it’s Christmas finery!

  9. Oh Rita, you have created such a special memory table with your Christmas nutcrackers! I was fascinated by every word of your description of the nutcracker scenes and of your and your girls dancing careers. The family photo is beautiful! Your nutcracker collection is impressive and the plates are wonderful. A beautiful table full of meaningful memories is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays! Thank you so much for organizing our blog hops and I hope you and your family have a very Merry holiday season!

  10. Rita, you know I share your nostalgia and fond memories of the Nutcracker ballet and what a gorgeous representation on your festive Christmas table! I adore those unique ornaments and you featured so many lovely nutcrackers--pinned! Wishing you a joyous Christmas season, my friend!

  11. Oh my goodness, Rita!! How wonderful to celebrate your family’s legacy with this beautiful table with such cherished pieces!! The photo of your family is fabulous and such a treasure to have such a precious family tradition. You have created a beautiful haven for your wonderful nutcracker collection. You complimented your nutcracker plates well with the plaid and the textured green scalloped edge plates, that is a beautiful plate stack! I so enjoyed your post!! I hope you and your family have a joyous Christmas 🕊

  12. Rita, you have outdone yourself. What a lovely story of ballet dancers in your family. Your family photo is a precious memory. Your collection of nutcrackers is fabulous. The egg shaped nutcracker is gorgeous and how sweet it plays Tchaikovsky's music. Each one has it's own story. I love seeing your table in front of your blazing fireplace. Always a dream of mine. The plate stack is perfect with the scalloped plates and the prized nutcrackers. A real treat for those who love nutcrackers. I love reading about the family history regarding ballet. Thank you for sharing and also thank you for organizing this fun Christmas tablescape blog hop.

  13. What an elegant dining room you have...not just the table, but the theme carried all around the room! I love seeing your nutcrackers. They all have personalities all their own!

  14. I love your theme Rita. You have such unusual and beautiful nutcracker ornaments displayed. They're so delicate and the oyster shelled ones are so unique. I prefer the fairy lights too. I haven't seen predominantly green plaid chargers and I really like yours! I bought the red plaid this year. I buy a different plaid or pattern every year as that's a good alternative to buying more dishes! 😂 Of course, occasionally, I see a few plates I just can't leave behind! Thanks for coordinating the blog hop. Enjoy your day. Clara ❤️

  15. Rita, what a dazzling Nutcracker tablescape. I love your use of green plaid tartan for the runner, napkins and charger. They compliment the nutcrackers so well, as a perfect match for each other. They certainly bring together a very elegant tablescape. What a wonderful story about you and your family's experience in ballet. I love the newpaper photo of your graceful family dressed so beautifully for the dance. I fell in love with the nutcracker painted ballet shoes. What a unique, one of a kind decor piece with so many memories tied to it. And those nutcracker shell ornaments are certainly a treasured keepsake. I am intrigued with the musical nutcracker egg. It is perfect for your cozy vignettes. Thank you for all that you do for this wonderful group and have a very blessed Christmas.

  16. Rita, I love your nutcracker ballet theme and seeing your collection of holiday figures! How perfect are those plates, paired with the dark green plaid linens. Wait until you see the nutcracker glasses I hand painted last year in an upcoming post. I also enjoyed hearing how the ballet is part of your family's holiday tradition, and especially enjoyed seeing the photo of your beautiful daughters. I adore the ballet and music. Mom and I are going to Pittsburgh's performance together for the first time in decades. I can't wait! Thanks for hosting, and wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons.

  17. This is such a special post! I had no idea that y'all are a ballet family, and I loved seeing the photo of y'all from 2003. I love learning new things about my blog friends :D Your choice for your theme is so personal and so pretty! I'm impressed with your eclectic collection of nutcrackers, and I also like how you explained your choices for the table. I think your dining room is so homey, especially the fireplace! What a luxury to have a fireplace in your dining room. Your plate stack is so pretty, and like the plaid chargers. Beautiful and unique table, My Friend! Merry Christmas!

  18. What a fun table, with so much meaning! The plate stack is perfect to set off the nutcracker designs. Those oyster shells are such a unique and thoughtful gift for the table. You would love one of our bed and breakfast inns here, they must have 1000 nutcrackers beginning with two six foot ones on either side of the front door. They bring them out only for the season, and the Holiday Inns Tour fundraiser.

  19. I enjoyed following the Nutcracker story around your table and admiring each one of your collection! Loved the nesting doll nutcrackers especially! Tables based on personal stories and collections are a treat to visit and provide a special atmosphere for celebrations. And to find that your whole family is talented! Thank you for once again bringing together such a fine group of talented stylists to share our tables. Have a lovely Christmas!

  20. Oh my Gosh Rita I love the nutcracker theme to your table and the beautiful memories of you and your family and your time in the ballet. It is all just beautiful. xoxo Kris

  21. First, thank you so much for keeping this tablescape hop tradition alive. Now, this wonderful post! Not just your table, but all of the amazing decor inspired by and celebrating all that is the Nutcracker!! How amazingly talented your lovely daughters must be! I am so impressed with your entire family's appearance in the ballet! What special memories that must have for all of you! I love your plate stack, the plaid charger, the vintage Majolica plates and of course the nutcracker salad plates. Those hand painted ballet shoes are quite the treasure too! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New year to you and your family this coming holiday season, and thank you again!!

  22. I love it all! When I was about five, my mother took me to see THE NUTCRACKER, and I have seen it many times since. I wore a dress she had made for me of black velvet and tartan red taffeta. Forty years later I got married in another dress of black velvet and red tartan taffeta Christmas! I had thought to see it again this year by The Alabama Ballet, but -- you know- all those viruses, so I might look at your your tube link tomorrow. This table is so cleverly thought out, but then you always do this, outdoing yourself each time. I made a nutcracker tree this year! So, yes ma'am, I am a fan. Ellen Shook

  23. Love, love, love this Rita! I was so excited to go touring tonight to see everyone's designs. I always look forward to the blog hops you host. But... I've been having such fun here that I know I won't complete the tour in one night. Your table is gorgeous and it's perfect for your lovely home. I'm so glad you shared your picture and the wonderful memories you have. I had to laugh at your "glitterphobe" self-description. I am in love with sparkly Christmas decorations. I just accept that I will be covered with the glitter for the entire month of December! Thanks for putting this all together. I wish you all a beautiful Christmas season!

  24. Rita, this is a perfect theme for you, and of course you depicted specific scenes in your centerpiece. Very clever! That is a wonderful family photo in the newspaper. You and Will look so elegant!
    The dishes are some I remember. I find the greens in your stack very elegant. The entire setting is elegant. Happy Holidays!
    Thanks for organizing all the wonderful hops this year. It's been a real treat for me!

  25. Rita, where do I even begin! Although I have never had the opportunity to see the Nutcracker, I do have an affinity for them! I have started a small collection, and thoroughly enjoyed admiring each of yours! How fun is the photo of your family! How wonderful to have been part of such an iconic ballet! Your plate stack is beautifully classic, from the charger, to the stunning salad plates. Those painted shells are gorgeous. Thank you for hosting us all today, and a wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  26. Love all of your nutcracker decor, especially the plates.
    Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you stop by. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2022/12/decorated-blocks-and-thursday-favorite.html

  27. I came by Tuesday, but things got hectic and I'm just now getting back to comment. Along with the beauty and originality, you are such a detail person. Each element is gorgeous and so well planned and thought out. The oyster shell ornaments are so amazing; what a find! I love the green Tartan, which of course is perfect with your lovely dishes. And I can't forget your precious family photo. So priceless!!

  28. One of my fondest holiday memories is seeing the Nutracker and our local dancers. I love the newspaper photo of your family in Charleston Ballet's Nutcracker. The M-C tree napkin rings are perfect on your stunning table! Merry Friday Rita!

  29. Rita, I meant to comment when I first read this on Tuesday, but there’s so much going on right now. I loved seeing your photos in the newspaper clipping. How awesome! I love your vintage plates and the entire nutcracker theme. Everything looks stunning, as always with your tablescapes.

  30. What a beautiful table...and your entire home looks lovely. I really like the Nutcracker plates. Getting some ideas for a brunch we are hosting next week. Thanks !

  31. Rita, this is the most clever and delightful tablescape, with such personal meaning to your family. What an impressive collection of nutcrackers you have!