In Victorian London, England on Christmas Eve, Mr. Stahlbaum gives his children the Christmas presents his wife Marie had set aside for them before she died. The younger daughter, Clara, receives a handcrafted egg-shaped box, which she is unable to unlock. In the package, she discovers a note from her mother that states that the inside of the egg is all she would ever need. The Stahlbaum family then heads to a Christmas Eve ball, hosted by the children's godfather and skilled engineer Drosselmeyer. Refusing to dance with her father, Clara scurries from the crowd to ask Drosselmeyer how to unlock her egg. He then reveals to Clara that the egg was a creation of his that he gifted to Clara's mother when she was younger, and that her mother's wish was to bestow the gift to her daughter.