How Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ Became Synonymous With Christmas

In a very seasonal video essay, music vlogger Polyphonic takes a look at the iconic Yuletide music of “The Nutcracker” and the instrument upon which the music was originally played. This instrument, called the Celesta, which was invented by Parisian Victor Mustel in 1886. The instrument had a heavenly sound with which Tchaikovsky fell in love and inspired the composer to write the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, which became popular through the ballet, which then made it synonymous with Christmas.

It captures so much of the magic of Christmas. It’s full of childish wonder and the slow bouncing steps seemed a perfect fit to creeping down the hallway early in the morning and spotting presents under the tree. It was a long journey from an organ shop in Paris to ballet stages worldwide but the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” has become a Christmas classic for a good reason and chances are as long as snow continues to fall you’ll hear the dance of the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ come Christmastime.