When the winter of 1892 ended, the Russian Musical Society reminded composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky of his promise to conceive a new ballet. Given just days to meet this commitment, he merged an existing overture with several lesser melodies, completing his ballet, known as "The Nutcracker," on March 19.
First performed at St. Petersburg's Maryinsky Theater the following Christmas, "The Nutcracker" continues to thrill audiences -- particularly those eagerly awaiting the ballet's crown jewel: "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."
But there is more to "The Nutcracker" than a ballet. It also has been converted into a story that makes great reading during the holiday season. "The Nutcracker" is the tale of a toy figure that turns into a prince. To read "The Nutcracker," click here.
Before our next song came along, no one was quite sure how Santa Claus managed to get inside houses to deliver his gifts. Now we know he uses the chimney. Not only does "Up on the Housetop" shed some valuable light on the workings of Santa, but it also is a fun song to sing. See the next page to learn more about "Up on the "Housetop."