Nutcracker tickets and dinner at Bella Napoli!

Left: Molly Hedberg; Right: Hannah Brown; Photo credit: Lesly Zachry

You know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when the Nutcracker comes to town! The spectacular ballet production has become a timeless tradition for so many families in our area. And we’ve got two tickets to give away to this Saturday night’s performance of The Nutcracker! And to put a big red bow on it, we’re also including a dinner gift certificate to the always wonderful Bella Napoli Italian restaurant, which is just around the corner from the Arend Art Center in Bentonville.

This year, The Nutcracker will be presented by the Classical Ballet Academy which will give two performances — on Saturday, December 4th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 5th at 2 p.m. at the Arend Art Center on the Bentonville High School Campus.

We know lots of families who have made The Nutcracker a part of their annual Christmas tradition. It’s also a wonderful tradition to begin as a “mother and daughter” event that’s as enjoyable when your daughter is 3 as it will be when she’s 43.

Guest artists Leah Gallas and Alberto Montesso; Photo credit: Derek Ceola

ABOUT THIS SHOW: At the public performances, professional guest artists Leah Gallas of the Metropolitan Ballet of Minneapolis, and Alberto Montesso of the Tulsa Ballet, will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. The Academy’s Youth Ballet Company dancers will dance the other lead ballet roles in the 2nd act, and the entire cast of 85 dancers features children and adults from our community. This year, the choreography for the Waltz of the Flowers was done by Melinda Tobian. Choreography and direction of this year’s show was done by Catherine Kyle, founder of Classical Ballet Academy.

This year, Molly Hedberg of Rogers, will portray Clara. Hedberg, 11, is the daughter of Curtis and Michelle Hedberg and has studied ballet at Classical Ballet Academy for more than five years. She is also a member of the Youth Ballet Company. Molly attends Ruth Barker Middle school and has dreamed of  dancing this beloved role. Join Clara as she dreams of a magical journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets by the side of the Nutcracker Prince.

Tickets are available for purchase by clicking here or visiting

ABOUT THE FOOD: Oh, where do we start? Maybe we should start with some of the Bella Napoli appetizers, which include fried calamari or those wonderful Portobello mushrooms sauteed with white wine and served with tomatoes and melted mozzarella. And then we could move on to the Fettuccine Alfredo, which is amazing, not to mention the Pollo Piccata, the Ravioli, the Tilapia… the list goes on and on. You will LOVE it.

Photo credit: Rick Kyle

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat for the Saturday night tickets plus dinner at Bella Napoli, just click the orange comment button below and tell us about one of your favorite holiday traditions. Your suggestions may inspire fellow moms to begin their own special traditions. You may also e-mail your entry to us.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: As always, our drawings are done at random, but we give extra chances to mamas who help spread the word! The Classical Ballet Academy is a non-profit organization which provides classical ballet education and performance opportunities to students in our community. This production relies heavily on word-of-mouth advertising for ticket sales, which means they need us mamas to let people know when and where it’s happening. If you send an e-mail to friends or family about the show and this giveaway, be sure to put on the CC line of your email, and we will give you an extra chance to win for every friend you tell.

Because the show is coming up this weekend, we’ll be choosing a winner AT RANDOM early on Thursday, December 2nd, so we can contact the winner and confirm receipt of the good news. So throw your names in quickly and tell your friends. Good luck! We’ll see you at the show!


  1. One of my favorite holiday traditions is taking the kids to look at Christmas lights. Playing Christmas music and looking at the lights will put you in a fabulous mood and really get you in the Christmas spirit. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love all the traditions we have in shopping, spending time with family and watching Christmas movies all December long!!!

  2. I love the holidays! My favorite thing to do is bake! Both of my girls wait all year for our holiday baking. We love it. And the eating part is fun, too. I even got the girls their first Easy Bake Oven this year for Christmas. They are going to be so excited.

  3. My favorite thing to do at the holidays is to go see all the lights. It was always fun for me as a kid and now my 3 year old son loves to do it as well!

  4. My kids LOVE our Advent calendar. Moving the marker from day to day… counting down the days until Christmas Eve/Day! Which reminds me.. I need to go DIG that out.. only one more day til we start “counting”!

  5. My favorite thing to do for the holidays is to take my daughter shopping for an “angel”. I love how she is learning to give to others and be thankful for what she has. We also enjoy looking at all of the lights!

  6. We have several traditions…sending a holiday family newsletter with our Christmas cards…collecting ornaments that mean something to us about things we’ve done through the year or that reflect our personalities…having little gifts that we open occasionally throughout the month…with the best “early gift” being on Christmas eve…but I guess the best time for me is Christmas Eve after everyone has gone to bed and I do the last minute things…last minute things under the tree and in the stockings…getting everything ready for the big ta-da Christmas morning…and enjoying the last quiet.

  7. My favorite holiday tradition is putting up the Nativity set. I have several. They are just such a special reminder of what the season is all about; our Lord and Savior, Jesus. My kids love them too; especially when they were little. Once when my son was three, I walked into the living room to see a tiny 4-wheeler pulled up to the nativity sceen with a spider on it. My son said that the spider was looking at baby Jesus. So sweet!

  8. One of my favorite holiday traditions is reading the Christmas story before opening gifts with my husband’s family. Last year the grandkids acted out the story complete with costumes made crafted from items found around the house and stuffed animals. It was precious!

  9. My favorite holiday tradition is baking goodies for friends and neighbors with the kids! We spend the whole day decorating and baking and making gifts. The kids love it and look forward to it every year!

  10. My favorite holiday tradition is making a gingerbread house each year with my 4 year old son. I have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t eat all of the toppings before we get them on the house though! I look forward to making one with my daughter when she gets old enough to participate.

  11. One of our favorite traditions is drawing a “secret person” each year at the beginning of December. We would put every family member’s name (including mom and dad) in a bowl and then each draw one, making sure we didn’t get out own. Then we make that person a homemade gift for Christmas. Those homemade gifts were so full of love and we were excited to eventually reveal who our secret person was.

  12. I love our “Pickle” ornament tradition. It is a little elf ornament that our son gets to put on the tree every year. Throughout the Christmas season “Pickle” will show up everywhere and it is our son’s job to find him and put him back on the tree. Since we only have one child “Pickle” usually ends up wrapped in one of his gifts on Christmas morning. The hunt for “Pickle”, once it is noticed he is not on the tree, is a great time!

  13. What a wonderful giveaway!
    Thank you!

    I love Christmas, my fav time of year. Why?! Because Jesus was born!
    Happy Birthday Jesus!

  14. We love to go to the square and bask in the lights and ride the ponies and carriage. It’s lovely and so much fun! We also love Christmas music and started this morning with carols.

  15. Growing up, my dad would always dress up as Santa on Christmas Eve and make a surprise visit before he started delivering gifts. He would come in, sing a few songs with us, let us each sit on his lap, and give us each a small present (usually pajamas). Of course, we truly believed it was Santa. The reason he would stop at OUR house was because he was “long time friends with my dad” and where was my dad during Santa’s visit? Usually at the grocery store to pick something up or sick in the bedroom (so we were told). The tradition continues today with OUR kids, his grandkids.

  16. I love it all – shopping, decorating, baking, giving. This show would be a fun way to kick things off this year!

  17. Listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree, making Christmas crafts to hang around the house, watch Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve. I love Christmas! 🙂

  18. I love getting new PJ’s on Christmas Eve and sitting around drinking hot cocoa and making cookies for Santa!

  19. LOVE the lights on the Fayetteville square! My friends and I went in college, and now it’s fun in a whole new way taking my family!

  20. We always try to help those less fortunate than ourselves by participating in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child and Angel Tree Ministries, as well as serve locally or help needy local families through church sponsorship programs.

  21. When putting up the Christmaas tree, Santa hats are worn by all anlong with our favorite Christmas songs playing! It is fun to see us all in hats and singing!

  22. My kids love our advent calendar. I put notes in with a special activity or treat that we do each day.

  23. We’ve been making a christmas craft ornament for our tree every year since my daughter was born. I love hanging them and talking about them and the kids adore making them. It’s like a little picture of their lives each year.

  24. We always order pizza on Christmas Eve and then when the little ones go to be we stuff stockings.

  25. We have a tradition where we put our kids to bed and let them just barely fall asleep. Then we wake them up and go out in our pajamas to drive around and look at Christmas lights. We take hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music. Our kids are starting to remember from year to year that we do this, but we still usually surpise them each time.

  26. Our girls get new jammies to open on Christmas eve. We also like to deliver some gifts and item to either the womens shelter or childrens shelter

  27. One of my traditions is to let my kids open new Christmas p.j.’s on Christmas Eve, and the other big one is to go to Church on Christmas Eve. Very important traditions for my children.

  28. One of my favorite traditions is making candy and cookies. I used to do it every year with my mom, and I started this tradition with my own girls 2 years ago. I am looking forward to it as Christmas gets closer!

  29. When I was young my mother always read stories out of the Guide Post Christmas edition. The String of Blue Beads was my favorite. Last year I asked my mother for the book and now I will start the tradition with my own children.

  30. One of my favorite traditions was making christmas cookies with my mom. We would make them, then deliver them to all the neighbors. We always looked forward to getting cookies from them in return and seeing what theirs looked liked!

  31. One of my favorite traditions that I started for my kids was to wait to fill the stockings until after everyone goes to bed on Christmas Eve. They always wake up to a full stocking, that Santa left for them.

  32. Oh, how I would love to present two tickets to my granddaughter Gabriella! She is 12 years old, and ever since she was really little, Barbie and the Nutcracker has been her favorite movie during the Christmas season. She loves the music! And you should have seen her trying to do ballet after the first couple of times of watching Barbie! She was so cute. Now, she just loves to listen to The Nutcracker. And what can I say about A Christmas Carol. That’s got to be a favorite for everyone. Any of my grandchildren would love to go see that. Just want to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season to all the Northwest Arkansas Moms and Grandmothers. Thank you ladies for an interesting website.

  33. A holiday tradition I want to start once my children are old enough:

    Sitting by the fire, Christmas tree lights and listening to my husband read them the Christmas story from the Bible.

    So excited to get to share this with them.

  34. When we were growing up Mom and Dad always let us pick out one gift on Christmas Eve to open. If it was the “big” gift then they would have us choose another one. It was always fun to try and imagine what each one was and to decide which one to open.

  35. A holiday tradition we’re hoping to start this year is being home on Christmas morning. Santa will ALWAYS kow where to find us, and we don’t have to hide and take presents with us!

  36. We have many holiday traditions, one includes buying a ornament for each child and the ornament represents something each child is into that particular year. We also paint ornaments together each year to add to their room trees. We draw a Christmas card at random each night and pray for that family. We decorate the tree together while listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate.

  37. One of my favorite family traditions is that we don’t wait until Christmas day to open all our gifts. Instead we open slowly over the ten days leading up to Christmas. It allows us to enjoy our gifts, see what others get and we don’t have the mad ripping on Christmas morning.

  38. A wonderful tradition that we use is one that my husbands family did for the kids when they were little. They didn’t wrap Santa gifts. Instead Santa gifts were left in piles by the fireplace where the kids would find them Christmas morning. I loved this idea so we are carrying it on for our two children.

  39. I’ve started with my daughter making a gingerbread house each year. We also make ornaments for the grandparents each year.

  40. I love our countdown calendar. It’s so much fun to get a surprise and have some excitement every day in the month of December!

  41. Our family takes an annual trip to Silver Dollar City to view the lights…the kids love it and the adults do too! 🙂

  42. We love to drive around the neighborhood and see the lights and who has added to the display each night.

  43. We always open new pj’s Christmas Eve from Santa’s elves then get ready for Santa’s big arrival!

  44. Nutcracker has been our family tradition for the past nine years! It is always a lot of fun for the kids to see!

  45. We always make a gingerbread house every year right before Christmas, then eat the candy off of it for the next week.

  46. Our Christmas tradition includes a big breakfast feast. We wake up and always ask the kids if we should eat breakfast or do presents first. Even though the presents always win, breakfast is always a hit, too!

  47. Actually, the nutcracker is one of our favorite traditions. We have several storybooks, the music, and each girl has her own nutcracker. We just need to go see the show now!

  48. Before we open gifts on Christmas morning we always read about the birth of Jesus to the kids. It helps remind them what Christmas is all about & that presents come second.

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