First, let’s briefly introduce you to what Russian New Year celebrations truly stand for: 

  1. This is the biggest holiday of the year, the ultimate opportunity to feast and unwind. For everyone. December 31 (or this year, December 30) kicks off a week of national holidays, so no one really thinks about anything work-related till January 8 at least (and sometimes even long after they get back to the office);
  2. This period itself is associated with a whole list of classic Soviet movies, making unreasonable amounts of salads and other appetizers for the family get-together, decorating the Christmas tree, and, naturally, putting the final touches on your presents; 
  3. An important detail in many decorations inside and outside, as well as on postcards and wrapping paper, will be the Chinese year symbol (this year, the Water Tiger) which for whatever reason has been integrated into Russian New Year culture. The symbol goes with some recommendations – for instance, to greet the year of the Tiger properly, you need to wear blue or black, cook green vegetables and pork, and celebrate in a big company. Though not many people are big on these guidelines, a Tiger figurine or postcard could be a nice present for someone you don’t know that much; 
  4. On the night of all nights, at midnight on December 31, everyone (or, well, many people) will tune into the president’s speech, broadcasted on most channels, and then pour champagne as the Kremlin clock strikes twelve to make a wish for the coming year; 
  5. Needless to say, after a long night of celebrations and with lots of leftovers, no one really gets up to much for a couple of days, making early January the perfect time to catch up on all that sleep you’ve been missing. 
Credit: Roman Spiridonov (@spiridonov) on Unsplash 

Credit: Roman Spiridonov (@spiridonov) on Unsplash 

To get completely versed in everything, check our first and extensive version of the guide that will take you through all Russian winter holiday festivities step by step. Today, we will add five more tips to the list to make your experience a wholesome one. 

  • Make all jingles bell 

If you are struggling to get into the holiday spirit despite all the decorations, fairy lights, and (mostly) happy people in the streets of St. Pete, take a look at the way our editorial team kindles it and keeps it going. Granted, you can get through the holidays and have a good time even without the “spirit,” if that’s your thing; we won’t be pushing you.

  • Get super-naturally festive

Surely, not every Russian region can claim snow to be an integral part of its winter (it’s still well above zero in Sochi, for instance), but most of us would still say it’s not really a New Year’s celebration without snowflakes in the air and at least a bit of frost biting your cheeks. We simply love snow, no reason to deny it. And luckily, there are many great ways to enjoy it outside, being active and punctuating each day of your winter holidays with a new memory. And to make sure you are not actually freezing, follow our guide for dressing warm in winter. 

Credit: Michel Oeler (@micheloeler) on Unsplash 

Credit: Michel Oeler (@micheloeler) on Unsplash 

  • Remember the Frost 

No, not the actual frost, but Grandfather Frost or Ded Moroz, the Russian New Year gift giver and deliverer. In fairytales, he’s usually accompanied by at least one partner in crime, you can learn more about both of them here. So don’t be surprised if you hear something like Это от дедушки Мороза (It’s from Ded Moroz) or Тут дедушка Мороз пробегал (Ded Moroz stopped by), when your Russian friends give you your New Year presents. Now you can boast being on first-name basis with him, too. 

  • Make your best gift

Just in case our snowy grandfather doesn’t show up on time, however, make sure to think about your gifts in advance. You can opt for the hip calling card of the city, uncover a true gem at a flea market, or choose something trendy and upcycled made by Russian designers. Or you can go all in and make the gift yourself – here is a whole bunch of ideas on what to create and where in the city best to do it. 

Credit: Visual Stories || Micheile (@micheile) on Unsplash

Credit: Visual Stories || Micheile (@micheile) on Unsplash

  • Keep the best, release all you no longer need

A tradition we (and, well, the whole world) have is reviewing our past year – to see what it was like for us, what we loved, what songs we listened to, and what games we played. It’s a great opportunity to cherish all the good and maybe attempt to gently let go of anything that might not be your best company in the coming year. Make a moodboard with everything you wish your coming year to be and don’t forget to make your wish on the magical New Year’s night. 

May your 2022 be wonderful!