A Nutcracker Christmas is a Hallmark Channel Nutcracker-themed original movie, directed by Michael Lembeck, who was nominated for the 2017 DGA Award for Best Director in a Children's Program. It premiered on December 10, 2016, as part of the channel's seventh annual Countdown to Christmas event.
Growing up in a sports-loving family in the American South, Lily has dreams of becoming a ballerina. Her ultimate goal is to dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Her older sister, Beth, is her biggest supporter.
She wins the 2003 American Ballet Invitational and is awarded a chance to perform with the New York Ballet. Her mother doesn't want her to go, but Beth convinces her mom otherwise.
Lily meets Mark, who has the role of The Nutcracker Prince. However, her dreams of becoming the Sugar Plum Fairy are always stopped by Mark's ex-girlfriend. Eventually the director casts Lily in the role.
However, before her debut, she receives word that Beth was killed in a car accident. Mark and the director, fearing for her well-being, refuse to let her dance. Thus, she returns to Georgia and becomes the surrogate mother to her niece, Sadie. Eight years later, Lily is now a yoga instructor. She no longer dances and no longer has room in her life for romance.
Sadie has followed in her aunt's footsteps, becoming a ballerina herself (and maybe even more talented than Lily). Sadie is offered the chance to perform with the Philadelphia Ballet, also in The Nutcracker as Clara. Lily now doesn't want Sadie to go, but Lily's mom (as Beth did years ago) convinces her otherwise.
Lily finds out that the ballet company owns her apartment building, and that the director is none other than her old flame, Mark. Lily learns that after leaving New York, Mark went into the military and did a tour in Afghanistan before returning to ballet. To the dismay of the dancers (and some of the "dance moms") Mark asks Lily to direct the lead dancers. Juliet (who was cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy) quits and her understudy is injured; Mark asks Lily to play the role she lost so many years ago. Lily is hesitant but ultimately agrees. Juliet, though, returns and wants her role back; Mark fires her but in doing so, causes Darren (Juliet's boyfriend who was cast as The Nutcracker Prince) to also quit, leaving no choice but for Mark to fill in the role.
On opening night, Sadie plays Clara's role wonderfully. Before going on stage, Lily tells Mark she loves him. Lily and Mark perform their dance to a standing ovation and the approval of cast and company (even the dance moms). As they take their final bow Lily sees a vision of Beth in the audience.
|Payton Richie||Lily (age 7)|
|Chloe Gauthier||Lily (age 14)|
|Isla Zarein||Sadie (age 2)|
|Alexandra Hook||Beth (age 12)|
|Brett van Sickle||Darren|
|Deborah Grover||Ms. Hill|
|Shane Daly||Martin (Dad)|
|Adrianna Di Liello||Olivia|
|Tina Jung||Coffee Shop Clerk|
|Ali Hassan||Cab Driver|
|Paula Barrett||ABI Official|
|Sarah De Carvalho||Young Clara|
|Kim Evans (uncredited)||Ballerina|
|Katie Messina (uncredited)||Stage Manager|
|Emily Roman (uncredited)||Dancer|
|Catherine Valle (uncredited)||Maria|
|Tahirih Vejdani (uncredited)||Caroller|