The Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome (0121-622 7486) 7.30pm

The month rolls round on the old Rolex Oyster and suddenly you feel a powerful urge to fill the house with large drums of Quality Street, deck the halls with old crepe paper and book four stalls seats for The Nutcracker. As Louise Levene observes, like nougat and green Chartreuse you wouldn't want it all year round, but The Nutcracker, in its many guises, is a delicious seasonal extravagance. Of all the productions currently on offer, the grandest and loveliest is Sir Peter Wright's version for Birmingham Royal Ballet. John Macfarlane's sophisticated crimson and gold designs make the mouth water, the mushrooming Christmas tree in the transformation scene sends shivers down the spine, and the many magical effects (including a giant flying goose) are always guaranteed outbursts of delighted applause. Rich, sweet, delicious and much, much nicer than nougat.