By Christi Geary
My mom was a classical pianist, as well as a wonderful mother of two kids and a full-time Defense Department employee. She would play the most amazing music, opening up new worlds that enabled us to better appreciate the beauty and diversity around us, and one of my very favorites pieces was Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.” Whether hearing my mom play it or experiencing it via Disney’s Fantasia, it is a piece of music that takes me home.
As a little kid, I requested that we go to see “The Nutcracker” and was so excited when we got tickets. We made it a big part of our holiday plans, including extended family, going out to dinner and dressing up for the occasion. Unfortunately, the first year we had tickets, a blizzard hit and shut the city down on the appointed evening. While I did not manage to make it to that performance, “The Nutcracker” eventually became a core part of our holiday tradition, right along with Cookie Day, decorating as a family, and taking time outto give back.
So now, with my own family, even when it is still 70 degrees outside in mid-November, the holidays feel a little closer once Frisch’s Presents “The Nutcracker” by Cincinnati Ballet is on the calendar.
As a working mother of two active girls, who are 6 and 9 years old, fitting a performance into our schedule is no easy feat. But we’ve made it work every year since my oldest daughter was 2! We inevitably feel like we are running a crazy race: dressing up, parking downtown, eating out somewhere nice, hiding the stains from eating somewhere nice, waiting in a restroom line for 20 or more minutes, and finally — finally! — finding our seats. (To then change our mind four times on whether we want a booster seat or not.) But when the lights finally go down and that first note hits, I don’t remember the insanity.
Inevitably, I feel both my girls grab my hands in excitement and turn to see their smiling faces as they look toward the stage. It reminds me what really matters, and I know we’ll do it all again next year (and love every minute).
While “The Nutcracker” is a must in our family, we always are on the lookout for new experiences to add to our holiday traditions, and we know our region’s arts performances and venues are a great place to start. (Find them all at CincyArtsGuide!) This year, both my girls are interested in exploring the Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art. They’re studying “Life Long Ago” in school, and it will be a great way to bring it to life with something that matters to them! As a bonus, the exhibit includes early German Nutcrackers, which is a nice way to connect the dots to our long-standing tradition. We’ll paint a nutcracker at Cheers to Art sometime in December, too.
My youngest also joined the Cincinnati Children’s Choir this year, and we are excited to experience the Feast of Carols and the Holiday Concert.
Christi Geary is the proud mom of two girls under 10, best friend and wife of her husband Brian, and an Associate Director at the Procter & Gamble Company focused on shopper insights and analytics.