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Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

It may look pretty weird, but Russia, Moscow, at least, is getting into a festive Christmas/New Year mood.

You can feel these vibes everywhere. Some say we are at war for Mother Russia. Tens of thousands of people have already died for nothing, on both sides of the frontline, for the old man’s wet dreams that would never come true.


Moscow Christmas Party

Moscow is having fun. You can feel the festive vibes everywhere. A few days ago, a huge cosplay party with local celebrities happened in Moscow. Popular Russian pop singers, social media starlets, IT girls, and the rest of the freaks had a gathering at a nightclub almost naked. Literally.

I mean, I don’t care if some people meet somewhere to celebrate something.

Not this time. According to some people concerned, as it turned out… The so-called ‘Z-patriots’, various scum that supports the war, have flooded the internet with reports like: ‘How on Earth these bastards when the country is at an existential war with devils from near and far, dare to behave like that?’

The good news is that people on Telegram are making fun of them. Some wonder: “are you feeling down because you haven’t been invited?”

This is a brief observation of Moscow festivities these days.

I’ve had a few caipirinhas today at a party with family and friends. I’ve mixed them myself. So, yes, I am feeling festive, for a different reason, though. In the meantime, please enjoy the ‘gay Moscow’ of the 2020s.

Are we feeling festive?

Roger Bara

My most compelling memories of childhood in the U.K. were of Christmas celebrations. Being from Germany and Poland, my parents made merry on Christmas Eve, rather than the next day. As a young child, I can distinctly remember the tremendous excitement of decorating the tree in the morning. This was followed by a compulsory sleep in the early afternoon, because of the impending very late night. Sleep? Impossible, but back in the day you did what you were told.

Then, around tea-time, dinner. And what a feast it always was. German Rouladen with all the trimmings, including red cabbage made with apples and Polish dumplings. Mum did the cooking, always, and only used the hob, never the oven. (Dad did all the baking.)

That was always followed by carols around the piano – we used to sing “Silent Night” in three different languages, German, Polish and English, simultaneously.

The best bits came after that, the giving (and receiving) of presents. The day ended with Midnight Mass, the boring bit for me, but at least I could boast to my fellow altar-boys that I had already opened all my presents, while they, poor lads, had to wait until morning!

During parenthood and indeed grandparenthood,  Mrs B and I tried to ensure we maintained this festive spirit with our family. As they all grew up, and we eventually retired thousands of miles away from immediate family, we gradually wound down the festivities, and even eventually stopped showering each other with gifts. 

Roger's Christmas Decorations

It helps that we now reside in a Muslim country, where Christmas is not officially celebrated, and we do not have to put up with bloody awful Christmas pop songs all day long on the radio, and shops are not decorated with tinsel and other gory seasonal stuff in early September, as they are back in Britain.

I want you to see the entirety of our substantial Christmas decorations. Cute, isn’t it? You will see it stands upon a wine cooler, because we have our priorities right in this house.

So, you may well think we are not feeling particularly festive. But you’d be wrong. Luckily, we have many great friends, and have been invited to several Christmas parties, with loads of good food, and even more alcoholic beverages. We shall don our Christmas sweaters, and eat and drink and be extremely merry.

It will, temporarily, take our minds off the fucked-up world in which we all live, where millions are starving, and where so many are facing wars and conflicts with which they never asked to be involved.  

So, for a few days, probably between now, the 23rd December, and New Years Day, we will remain in festive spirit. It would seem churlish to be otherwise.

Are we feeling festive?

Photograph of Dean Lewis

The Grinch ain’t got nothin’ on me! Christmas in America is simply out of control. It starts right after Halloween, the stores put up Christmas decorations and I cringe. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas but I hate the manipulative and crass way the business world tries to equate love with spending money. An $800 iPhone for a twelve-year-old? Have you lost your mind?

Maybe I should step back… OK, way back. If you had said “Merry Christmas” to George Washington, he would have known what you are talking about. Indeed, there was a Christmas tree at Mount Vernon each year. But Christmas was a minor holiday. Wassail and Twelfth Night were the real holidays. We still celebrate them: think about it; what other religious holiday do you go to parties to celebrate? And what’s up with that song with the twelve days of Christmas? Many of the holiday songs you think you know are in fact old songs with new lyrics.

The Christmas you know was invented by the merchant class in the early 1900’s as a way to improve sales. In the last couple of decades their greed has become overwhelming. When I was young, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations went up after that.

Today, poor retail employees may be forced to work Thanksgiving Day. Total bullshit. And the next day they may be at work at two in the morning for so-called Black Friday sales. The radio stations start playing Christmas music earlier each year to get listeners in the Christmas mood. Maybe you can be induced to spend money you don’t have as a twisted, obscene way of showing love.

Outdoor Christmas Lights
Dean’s last hometown – Gatlinburg, TN

Of course, this has absolutely nothing so whatever to do with Christmas. As an aside, the Church knew Jesus was born during the Roman census, which normally took place in the Summer. Then why did the Catholic Church declare December, 25th, Christmas? Because it falls right in the middle of the harvest holiday season and they didn’t like all the drinking and sex. By the way, Halloween is another religious holiday that didn’t quite work out.

So today in the US, evangelicals run around saying Jesus is the reason for the season and that we need to put God back into Christmas. At no point in history has Christmas ever been a religious holiday.

It would be all too easy to think that I hate Christmas. Actually, I like Christmas, I’m looking at a tree I put up as I type this. Yesterday, Roger and me sat next to each other at a party. The next party is tomorrow. 

So, the question is: Do I feel festive? Actually, yes, I like the lights and the music brings back memories. It may be that I know too much history; I think Christmas is almost an ink blot. What do you see? Religion? Maybe you like the decorations, presents and lights? How about family, a warm house and dinner? Maybe you look forward to the dinner party at a friend’s home, perfectly legitimate with roots that run back further than the religious part. For me, I would actually prefer a quiet Christmas at home. If you celebrate, whatever you celebrate is perfectly legitimate. Keep quiet and don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. They normally know nothing about the holiday anyway.