Nutcracker in the Castle

Since this is our first official Christmas in our home – we moved in Dec. 5 last year, so you can imagine that we were living out of boxes and in general chaos for a month – we are seizing every opportunity to take advantage of local holiday events. First on my list was Nutcracker in the Castle at the Paine Art Center & Gardens, which we attended last Friday!

The Paine is located in Oshkosh, Wis., approximately a 20-minute drive from where we live, and it quickly has become my favorite place. I visited the historic mansion during the summer for the Dressing Downton Abbey exhibit – actually, I went twice with two different people because I loved it that much – so, I was extra excited to see it all decorated for the holidays.

Ryan and I opted to go Friday night because that’s when the self-guided candlelight tours are offered – all the lights in the mansion are turned way down low, so the place practically only is illuminated by the lights from the more than 70 Christmas trees throughout the house (yes, 70!). We also got to carry around cute electric candlestick holders, which served as props and only added to the unique ambiance of the experience.

Every room is decorated as a scene from the Nutcracker, and let me tell you – every room and tree was a work of art. My favorite room was Clara’s bedroom with all the touches of pink, and they even remembered to put the Nutcracker on her bed! Fun fact: growing up, my dream was to be a ballerina and to be Clara in the ballet – I’m now working on Ryan for that to be our child’s name if we have a girl someday. 

Close second favorite(s) go to The Land of Snow and The Land of the
Sugarplum Fairy because, well, just look at how gorgeous everything is. Oh, and The Land of Sweets had real cakes and desserts on display – I wish I had baking skills like that!

Pictures can’t do this location or the decorations justice, and I didn’t take photos of every single room so as not to give the whole experience away. If you live in the area or are visiting anytime soon, make sure you take the time to add The Paine or your itinerary – it’s bound to get you in the holiday spirit!

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