I know we’re already into 2015 but Happy New Year anyway! I’ve always felt that the start of the new year was the promise of new beginnings. Often times we make resolutions that fall to the side two weeks or more into the new year only for us to feel remorse six or eight months later when we’ve not lost that weight or saved that amount of money that we swore to ourselves would be attainable this year. A long time ago I decided that New Year’s resolutions weren’t worth the time I spent in considering them, let alone trying to maintain. That is, until recently.
I think it was around November when the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh (JWC) Arts CSP was discussing a volunteer opportunity with The Carolina Ballet that I thought to myself, “you know, this would actually be a lot of fun.” It seems that The Carolina Ballet was in need of assistance with their boutique at their performance of The Nutcracker and the JWC Arts CSP was quick to offer some friendly merchandising hands.
Now, many of us have heard the familiar Nutcracker Suite tunes that scream from our televisions while we’re feeding the kids or over the radio while sitting in the RTP traffic congestion, but have you ever really considered what it’s like to be a part of The Nutcracker? I mean, who of us has not heard of The Nutcracker or gone to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads? When presented with the opportunity to be a part of such a holiday classic, I really just couldn’t resist in wanting to take a break from my holiday shopping rush and consume myself with some holiday nostalgia.
I spent years in college and even more years after college hearing the radio ads for this, this annual holiday production that seized my heart eons ago at the ripe old age of sixteen years. Life and things got in the way, until that November 2014 meeting caught up with my mind and stung my heart with nostalgia. The Nutcracker! I could be a part of something so blissful and warm and comforting. Yes! Add my name to the volunteer list: I will be there!
With December fast approaching, I could barely contain my excitement! What would I be doing? What was it like to work in the boutique? Would I catch a glimpse of a dancer? Would ‘Claire’ be there? Is it weird for a thirty-something to ask for a child’s autograph? Seriously, do I need an intervention? OK, please don’t answer that last question…totally rhetorical.
I arrived with my fellow Arts CSP members and we were quickly and gratefully greeted for our time at the boutique. Large and small nutcrackers, Christmas tree ornaments, and musical snow globes lay ahead of us, ready for purchase. Did you know that there are autographed dancer’s pointe shoes available for purchase? After a momentary head-shake to take it all in, I quickly got caught up on my responsibility at the booth. Complete with merchandise order form, verify the buyer’s name, hand off for fulfillment by a fellow JWC member. Got it. Let’s go!
My other JWC members and I spent time taking and fulfilling order requests between the pre-show, intermission, and post-show time points. I never thought I’d run into others so enamored by The Nutcracker as me. I was wrong.
It was fabulous to see little girls requesting “Claire shoes” and little fellas wanting the “Rat King nutcracker.” It was like a mirror image to my sixteen-year-old self, and I loved it! I loved their infatuation with the production and their energy for merchandise. They were completely caught up in the magic that is The Nutcracker! And, I felt so fortunate to be a part of their excitement and to be able to help contribute to their artistic growth. Yeah, I know, I may have only helped sell merchandise, but c’mon it as Nutcracker merchandise!
By the time the evening was over, I’d already recommitted myself to wanting more of this – more of The Nutcracker. I would be back in December 2015 and I would sell more pointe shoes and t-shirts and wooden ornaments, and yes, MORE nutcrackers! This would be the one resolution that I WILL KEEP! There are no SAT prep courses, no end of semester college finals that require my attention. True, I’m now an adult with ‘adult’ responsibilities… car payments, house payments, job functions, etc. but I’m in a better spot than in previous years. I am able to pick the things that matter to me in my life and volunteering with JWC matters to me. More specifically, volunteering with JWC and the Carolina Ballet matters a lot. The Nutcracker? Oh yeah, definitely matters!
I know we’re only a short while into 2015 and that resolutions will quickly fall to the side. But, can December hurry up and get here so that I can help an eleven-year-old decide between musical snow globes and autographed posters? And, where’s the back stock of Rat King Nutcrackers?
See you in December!
Written by Sharon Mooring