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How the Nutcracker Wrecked My Christmas

I.

The year that four of us were a family in the Nutcracker, night after night pretending to have Christmas on stage, we stopped putting the Christmas tree up. We rehearsed instead of decorating. Then my mom had my little brother and retired from the Nutcracker for a second time in her life. The Christmas tree went back up, but this time, its branches drooped with pink. We'd retired the normal Christmas ornaments and hung every last ornament that one of us had received as a Nutcracker gift. Ballerinas and pointe shoes and so many Nutcrackers and mice and soldiers and Claras: characters and shoes enough for fifteen productions danced on the tree.

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An Open Letter to Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan

This month, thousands of college students attended "activity fairs" and found groups that moved them. What will they learn? How many lives will they save? Here, a primer on the experience. READ MORE