Fox News' Emily Compagno reveals the Christmas joy of 'The Nutcracker' and giving back to others

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Who doesn’t love the well-known and much-appreciated ballet “The Nutcracker”? Not to mention the decorative (and sometimes still-functional) nutcracker figurines at Christmas?

As cohost Emily Compagno of Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered” says in the new book “All American Christmas” by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy of the Christmas-focused figurines, “These handsome gentlemen are the stars of my mantel and get a whole section of the living room to themselves.”

She adds, “Some are handmade smokers from Oberwiesenthal of the German Erzgebirge, considered the heart of folk art and handcraft, and where my family is from. My mom brought them back from her family history travels.” 

Compagno also shares how her ballet performances in “The Nutcracker” as a young dancer allowed her to enjoy the Christmas holidays in an exuberant way — and, most importantly, helped her give back to others and understand the value of doing so.

In this photo, soloist Abigail Morwood is shown performing during the Cincinnati Ballet’s dress rehearsal of ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Aronoff Center on Dec. 17, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fox News’ Emily Compagno in ‘All American Christmas’ shares her own joy of performing and giving back to others. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Check out more details of Compagno’s story in this excerpt from “All American Christmas.”

Read Emily Compagno’s thoughts about the ‘real Christmas gift’

Emily Compagno in All American Christmas: I began dancing ballet when I was three, and my passion for “The Nutcracker” was only enhanced by performing it every year.

One of our family traditions was to attend the San Francisco Ballet’s production of that Christmas classic every year, and we now take my three nieces to the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s annual production.

As an aside, the gift shop at PNB is unparalleled and simply exquisite, and many of my most impressive nutcrackers hail from there — including a commanding black glittery-and-real-feathered Drosselmeyer and a most imposing Mouse King with a jeweled velvet cape.

Dance was such a significant part of my life and our family. 

Emily Compagno of Fox News shares her holiday memories and traditions in ‘All American Christmas’ — traditions that included, during her childhood, performances as a ballet dancer in "The Nutcracker." She says she "loved performing for seniors and for children" because of the connections made with those groups during the holidays. 

Many of our ornaments and decorations reflect our love for ballet and familiar favorites like the Swan Princess from “Swan Lake,” the Peacock from PNB’s “Nutcracker,” and of course, crowns and pointe shoes galore!

Part of the magic of Christmas is spreading the spirit, good tidings, and cheer. 

As a dancer in “The Nutcracker,” each year I performed abbreviated versions of the production in schools and elderly care facilities throughout the [San Francisco] Bay Area. 

This photo shows a beautiful scene from "The Nutcracker" ballet. "For seniors," says Fox News’ Emily Compagno — who danced an abbreviated version of "The Nutcracker" as a young ballerina — "we reignited memories from their past, showing them they weren’t forgotten."
(AP, File)

I loved performing for seniors and for children … Now, as an adult, I appreciate having had those experiences and better understand how important it was to have a connection to those groups in particular.

We were influencing the young to develop an interest in dance and the performing arts through the magic of the timeless “Nutcracker” production.

For seniors, we reignited memories from their past, showing them they weren’t forgotten and expressing our gratitude through entertainment.

As much as I loved performing, the after-show meet and greets were even better. 

Engaging with kids and the seniors, connecting with them and hearing what they had to say and feeling their appreciation, was the real Christmas gift.

Excerpted from All American Christmas by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy. To purchase a copy, click here

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