If it's Christmas, it must be "The Nutcracker."
Indeed, the San Francisco Ballet's classic holiday fantasy brings Clara and more than 170 storybook characters to life at the holiday ballet Dec. 12-24 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Pacific Asia Museum has dibs on the opening night performance Dec. 12. Chairwomen Nancy Baxter, Nancy Neal Davis and Vicky Rogers chair the 7:30 p.m. performance and the champagne reception afterward in the Gold Room. Tickets are $150 and $100. Scudder, Stevens & Clark, J.P. Morgan, and the Whittier Trust Co. will underwrite the affair.
The premiere matinee on Dec. 14 belongs to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Its board of directors and regents will host the 2 p.m. performance and the Sugarplum Tea that follows. Tickets range from $150 to $25.
Candlelight: The Juniors of the Social Service Auxiliary celebrate "Noel a la Nouvelle Orleans" at their 61st annual Candlelight Ball on Dec. 14 in the Ballroom of the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Proceeds benefit Regis House, the community center serving needy families of the Sawtelle / West Los Angeles area. Tickets are $200.
Angels: Saturday evening guests are supposed to witness visions of angels at the Century Plaza Hotel when Daniel Freeman Hospital Auxiliary Guild transforms the Tower ballroom into a "heavenly paradise." The black-tie 45th annual Christmas Tree Ball will raise funds for medical services at Daniel Freeman Hospitals in Inglewood and Marina del Rey. Ball chairwoman Cynthis Oredugba expects to raise the equivalent of last year's $118,000.
Ho! Ho!: Philip M. Neal and his wife, Meredith MacRae-Neal, are dinner chairs of the Charles Dickens Dinner for the USC School of Music Dec. 13 at the Regal Biltmore.
Quincy Jones will receive the Magnum Opus Award, and Edward and Nadine Carson, the Dickens Medals of Honor. Goldie Hawn has promised to be special guest and carol with the USC Chamber Singers & SC Jazz. The evening will launch the Quincy Jones Music Scholarship.
Sugar Plums: The Angels Attic Victorian House is planning its 12th Christmas garden tea Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. For $20, guests can have tea, shop the galleries and browse in the toy and miniature museum. Proceeds will go to Brentwood Center for Educational Therapy, which serves autistic children and young adults.
Wonderland: Proceeds will go to Operation School Bell when the Anne Banning Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Southern California stages "Winter Wonderland" on Dec. 8 at the Century Plaza. There will be a 10 a.m. holiday boutique, a children's fun zone, silent auction and the Nordstrom fashion show and luncheon. Benefit chairwoman Wendy Fleming is expecting 1,000 guests.
Kudos: To Dorothy E. Leavey, chosen outstanding philanthropist by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Her generous $8-million gift helped the Assistance League of Southern California complete construction of the Family Resource Center named in her honor. The league aids more than 66,000 needy people through its 10 community-based services.
Elsewhere on the Social Circuit
Keeping Up: The Associates for Breast Cancer Studies at the John Wayne Cancer Institute honored Kent Kresa, chairman of Northrup-Grumman Corp. with the Liz Lewis Spirit of Hope Award at a dinner dance at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Also saluted were Ivana Trump, Lynn Redgrave and Dr. Susan Jeffers. The group has raised $1 million and has pledged another $1 million to support the work of cancer researcher Dr. Donald L. Morton, director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute.