December 14 was our big day on site, with Totem's Christmas celebrations. The other Moms and I were all there on site at 10:30am, prepping for the final Nutcracker rehearsal, accomplishing vital tasks such as decorating helium balloons to look like mice.
The real events began later that afternoon, starting with the arrival of Santa Claus:
It was awesome, to see Santa rappelling from the top of the circus tent!!! He came down to lots of cheers and excitement, and the kids all ushered him inside the Tapis Rouge tent, for the performance of the Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker (Щелкунчик) was actually a 30-minute show (including a 5-minute segment in the middle where the kids just sit and watch the film) ... it was based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which was made into a 1973 animated movie. Apparently all Russian / Ukrainian children grow up watching this movie (I imagine it's something like How The Grinch Stole Christmas or A Charlie Brown Christmas, in popularity). Our children's task was to act out the film.
We were so proud of them! Here is a link to the video - it's too large a file to post on Blogger, so I put it on Vimeo instead.
After the show, Santa had presents to give out to the children, and kids got to sit with him for photos. We were so happy that Kelly, Kai, and Tenzing came to see the kids' show! And here is a photo of my kids with Santa and their cousin Kai (Tenzing was having none of this).
Afterwards, in the kitchen, there were cupcakes and candy canes and happy children and exhausted parents... !