Digging down and discovering the pure magic of the season can be as simple as looking deep within our hearts, and that statement honestly isn't meant to elicit any "awwws" or such.
Though, you know. "Awww" if you want.
But there is a caveat: We humans do like our nostalgic touchstones when it comes to Christmas, the time-proven carols and shows and movies we practically know by, well, heart, the very same heart we should be gazing inside as the yuletide draws near.
And at the tippiest top of the touchstones? Well, "Rudolph" is up there, and the "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel," too. And dancing its way to centerstage in terms of nostalgic stories? It's "The Nutcracker," a colorful, costume-terrific, music-soaring staple of the last month on the calendar.
The great thing about tried-and-true traditions is this: They tend to pop up in a few places, with a few variations, meaning a fan can take in a swath of them, or at least one or two, and feel as though they've truly reveled in something that will disappear again for eleven months.
Or "melt again," if you prefer, since snowflakes figure largely in this lark.
So don't let "The Nutcracker," with its da-danana-nuh-nuh Tchaikovsky score and its Sugar Plum Fairy and its mice and its Christmas tree dance off into 2017; secure your seat now at a Southern California theater.
The Los Angeles Ballet will once again flit from venue to venue, fetchingly, from Dec. 10 through the 24th. The Dolby Theatre is up first, Royce Hall follows, and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center rounds it all out just ahead of Christmas.
One lovely bonus? Shop at the Roberto Cavalli store in Beverly Hills from Dec. 1 through 9 and know that 15% of the proceeds will go to supporting this excellent ballet company.
Feeling the enchantment around Orange County? Look to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, in Costa Mesa, where the American Ballet Theatre will perform the beautiful ballet over select nights beginning on Dec. 9. And the snowflakes shall spin when the Long Beach Ballet's take on the whimsical tale leaps into the Long Beach Terrace Theater beginning on Dec. 10.
And if you're in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, or Claremont in the coming weeks, and have a hankering to see magical toys come to life (complete with impressive leaps and twirls), seek out the Inland Pacific Ballet's schedule.
There is, surely, a Nutcrackian fantasy in your neck of the forest, and it will be, surely, either traditional or a modern play on the story.
Just follow the Tchiakovsky-like tunes to the stage near you, to find frolicksome mice and toys and fairies and all-out, cheer-glow magic, the kind of magic that just might encourage a person to do that whole looking-into-their-heart thing more regularly.