The good thing about the Ukrainian and I melding of our respective traditions is that if we don’t get one right, there is a pretty good chance that there is at least one if not two more upcoming opportunities to try again. (This is also true of our weddings where we’ve had two already and are expecting to have a last final one in a Russian Orthodox church in Kiev).
As I wrote earlier, the western Christmas was a total bust for us. We did get each other gifts, but we were too tired to so much as wrap them, let alone put up a tree, decorate or prepare a dinner. Indeed, we didn’t even make it to our local Chinese restaurant. Instead we contented ourselves with frozen dinners, blinis & caviar, as well as a traditional homemade midwestern cheeseball.
Our over-crazed autumn where we saw very little of each other and even less of sleep had taken its toll.
But no worries. Only 1 week after the western Christmas, we had a chance to do it all over again as Russians and Ukrainians, among others, put up a New Year Tree. So, we did the same. It was no longer possible to buy one (though we could have taken a discarded one from the street), so we made use of the small 1/2 meter one that my brother and his wife sent me when I lived in the Netherlands. Since we were doing a simple New Year’s and the tree was small, we decorated it with red stars — which I had also bought in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. While the stars were purchased in Italian shop, I couldn’t help but note how appropriate they were for a New Year Tree since the Soviets also banned a tree for Christmas.
We each gave each other one package. Nothing extragavant. The Ukrainian gave me a beautiful orange leather luggage tag that I had been wanting. I appreciated his gift as we had had problems with our baggage going missing several times while traveling in 2008. I gave the Ukrainian the “Perfect Pushup” set. It’s a new year, so why not new shoulders?!?!? Really, I like the Ukrainian’s body just fine, but he had been asking for these for quite some time so he could do beautiful push-up from the comfort of our home.
In Ukraine, the Ukrainian says, people usually exchange packages at midnight. However, we did ours on the night of New Year’s Day as we were busy attending house parties on New Year’s Eve and then spent New Year’s Day with our dogs along Fort Funston and Ocean Beach enjoying our day off. Only, upon our tired return did we open the presents.
Again, no time for a beautiful dinner on this holiday. But we improved much in the week since Christmas. Also, on New Year’s Eve, we didn’t get home until 7:30 pm (19:30) and had little time to prepare the food and wine we had to take to the house parties.
But there was an improvement. We vow to have an even better, well-planned holiday season during 2009-2010!