Those who have business associates, family members or a significant other living in Russia or parts of Eastern Europe should be aware of the differences—or some would say complexities—of the season compared to the Christmas season in the United States before sending a holiday gift or flowers to Russia.
When Russia was a part of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not widely or openly celebrated. As a result, New Years celebrations became much larger and came to include gift exchanges and “New Years” trees. However, after the fall of Soviet Union, Christmas began to be openly celebrated by many. Some Russians celebrate the holiday on December 25th, while others celebrate on January 7th because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar to determine religious holidays. December 25th celebrations are commonly referred to the Catholic Christmas holiday (even though many protestants celebrate on this day as well).
When sending a Christmas gift, any time between the middle of December and just before January 7th, you’d better schedule your delivery. However, if you know that recipients celebrate on December 25th, then earlier is better. Gift baskets and flower arrangements sent to offices can be delivered even earlier as employees generally have time off for the holidays.
The Catholic Christmas celebration includes a mix of religious and cultural traditions. Generally, families and friends meet to exchange Christmas gifts and to feast. Food and spirits make great gifts for the holiday season—favorites include chocolates, cakes, cookies, roasted nuts, fruit, wine, cheese, caviar and a variety of other gourmet treats. For many people, Christmas is a time to indulge in rich or expensive foods that they normally do not eat.
St. Nicholas is an important Christmas-time figure in Russia. During communist rule, Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) replaced the icon, but today you’ll see many decorations featuring St. Nicholas again. Christmas trees, generally triangle shaped evergreens, are decorated with ornaments and lights each year. Additionally, the colors red and green are used for decorations, clothing and holiday wrapping during the season while poinsettias and other red flowers are commonly used for decoration.
With all this in mind, sending flowers to Russia or sending a gift basket is a great way to celebrate the holidays even when you cannot be with your loved ones or if you have international business associates. When you send a gift overseas, it is best to choose a reputable company that specializes in gift delivery between your country and your recipient’s. RussianFlora.com is an example of a company that specializes in gift and flower delivery to Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe, so they carry Russian favorites in traditional Christmas colors and styles.