Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale is an animated direct-to-video special set to Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker", and features the usual antics of the cat-and-mouse duo Tom and Jerry. It was the last animated production for co-creator Joseph Barbera, who died on December 18, 2006. The film was dedicated to him.
The movie begins with Jerry and his baby nephew Tuffy watching the Christmas ballet. Later, Jerry goes to the empty stage floor, where magic begins to happen. Toys come alive including Nellie the horse (who can only talk if someone pulls her string) and Paulie the Christmas Ornament (who was missing a head, due to Jerry kicking it earlier on). The magic then makes a Music Box Ballerina come to life, and Jerry dances with her (Jerry falls in love with her and they became prince and princess having given their crowns).
The stage is transformed into a wintry wonderland, where the toys are enjoying a dinner. Tom, who is trying to get his Christmas sleep, hears this, and, with the other cats, raid the feast, trapping the toys. Jerry, Paulie, and Nellie try to stop this, but are shot out of a cannon. Tuffy escapes, but the Ballerina is captured by Tom. Later on, Tom is called to gather men and stop Jerry. Tuffy gives the Ballerina a string attached to keys, on the end of which is keys. He then goes to stop Tom. Meanwhile, Jerry, Paulie, and Nellie decide to follow the star to a man called the Toy Maker. They stop in front of a frozen river. All make it safely, except Jerry who falls in, and becomes tangled in weed. He is freed, and is pulled up by Nellie and Paulie. This makes Paulie unravel. Tuffy gets to Tom, and dresses up as an angel and a devil. He is found out, and ends up sticking a trident in Tom's eye, which the cats hold together like a ladder, causing them to fall in a cliff (Tom screams the Wilhelm scream). He continues on to Jerry, warning him of the cats. Tom and his friends, disguised as Christmas trees, surround Jerry, but Tom gets attacked by squirrels, and shredded in a tree shredder. The cats attack, but the heroes escape, inside a tree. The cats beat up Tom by mistake.
They launch a cannon, which blasts Jerry and his friends into a house with clocks. Tom gives chase, but is pecked on by wooden birds. The heroes then come to a hill, in which Paulie loses his head. They go into the hole, only to find a fiery world with lava pits and dragons. A flame fairy gives Paulie his head back. A dragon wakes up, but is hypnotized by Jerry into lifting them out of the pit. They are chased by the cats again, and run into a fairground. Tom is virtually destroyed here, being crushed again and again - of course, this being a cartoon, he always revives. They make it to a ridge, and Jerry blows up balloons with which they make it off safely. Tom though, is blasted by cannons. One cat shoots an arrow, bursting Nellie's balloon. Tuffy grabs on to her, and unravels more of Paulie. Nellie is let down, and chased by the cats. Jerry saves her, but he lets go of her string. The cats pull her string, and she tells them where the others are headed. The remaining three make it to the Toy Maker, who fixes Paulie, and gives them toy soldiers.
The toy army, lead by Jerry, charge, and quickly stop the cats. Tom vacuums up many of the soldiers, but they are blown onto the cats. Jerry and Tuffy are eaten by Tom, but Nellie returns, and throws a hammer, smashing Tom's teeth. Jerry then pushes a toy train and all the cats ride on it until it hits a wall and the wreckage goes into a box, with all the cats inside. But, a wall falls down on Nellie, who has saved Jerry and the Ballerina. However, the magic revives her, and she begins to talk on her own, without a string having to be pulled. Jerry and the girl (getting their crowns back and becomes king and queen) dance, and curtain is let down after the ballerina tosses a rose to the mouse, ending the show.