Jenny: I love Christmas, because it is a time when all my family get together to celebrate. The celebrations begin at the end of November, when in my town the lights are switched on (включают) at the Town Hall, and all the shops are hung with (обвешаны) little Christmas trees and decorations, and there is a Christmas fair and street party where there is singing and dancing, and you can buy mince pies (сладкие пирожки) and warm mulled wine (глинтвейн).
At home we put up (устанавливаем) our Christmas tree at the beginning of December. And this is quite typical in the UK. Although some people wait until the middle of December, because the Christmas trees lose their leaves if you put them up too early. But we have got a plastic Christmas tree this year and it went upon the 3rd of December. We also hang stockings, long socks, from the fireplace, because according to tradition Father Christmas flies around the world on Christmas Eve delivering (принося) presents to all the children. And he comes down the chimney and leaves chocolates, fruits, and toys in the stocking. So my son puts a glass of sherry and a mince pie on the table for Father Christmas and also a carrot for Santa's reindeer (северный олень).
On the day after Christmas it is a public holiday. It's called Boxing Day. And in Victorian times the servants were given a day off (выходной). Because on Christmas Day they had to work. They had to help their masters celebrate Christmas. So on Boxing Day they were given a box, and in the box there might be some money, a Christmas bonus, presents, and maybe left over food (оставшаяся еда). In my family on Boxing Day we go for a long walk in the countryside and burn off (сжигаем) all the Christmas calories.
We call him Father Christmas in the UK, and in the USA they usually call him Santa Claus. But it's the same person. Father Frost in Russia comes I believe on New Year's Eve. Whereas Father Christmas doesn't come to the children on New Year's Eve. On New Year's Eve we don't have such a big celebration. We usually have a party, maybe meet up with friends at somebody's house, maybe go out to a pub for the evening, but we don't give gifts usually on New Year's Eve.
Sergei: I think if the Russians want to describe what they eat during these holidays, they will use several salads: Olivye...
Jenny: We call it Russian salad in my family. Olivye is a potato salad, isn't it? So we call it a Russian potato salad.
Sergei: And "vinegret"...
Jenny: And this is a salad with beetroot. But we don't have really had this salad. My sister calls this Russian salad, as well. We don't really have this salad.
The Christmas dinner is really the final event. And for some people it may be one or two o'clock in the afternoon. For some people it may be in the evening or in mid-afternoon. Different families celebrate in different ways.
Mince pies are a small pie. We eat them a Christmas. And inside there is a mixture of raisins and sugar. So we call it mincemeat, but it isn't meat. It is fruit. Mulled wine is warm wine with spices. And I think you have it in Russia, too. Глинтвейн.
I think people drink more on New Year's Eve. If there's a party they drink a lot. Because it's a family day. Again it maybe depends on the family. Some families do drink quite a lot. They drink with the meal wine with the meal. They might have champagne with the meal or a fizzy wine. Some families may continue to drink into the afternoon. I think it's very individual to each family. They do probably drink more than usual, yes.
After the meal we open our presents. So they wait until lunch time, till after lunch. And then after lunch we've opened the presents, then we play games, we chat. The elderly relatives sleep in a chair. And the day slowly winds to a close.
Jenny: This year I went to a Christmas carol service in a little village church at the weekend. And carol services are held in churches, in marketplaces, and town centers throughout December. So what is a carol? It's a Christmas song. Usually it's a song, the Christmas story about the birth of Jesus. And when I was a child, my family would join with lots of other families and walk around the village singing outside people's houses. And the old ladies would open their doors and invite us in, give us a hot drink and a mince pie, and then we would go to the next house and sing outside their house. Is there still a tradition to send greeting cards. Well, this is a very important tradition.
English people consider it very important to send a card. And they usually write to and the name of the person, from, and your name. Nothing else is in it. It's a card with a Christmas picture on it. And we give them to everybody, so to your children's teachers, to your neighbors, to all your friends, to all your relatives. It doesn't matter if you will see them or you won't see them. We send them in the post. We deliver them by hand. We send out hundreds of Christmas cards at Christmas.
Sergei: I will try to learn several new words. Thank you!
Jenny: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and all your family!
Sergei: What about the song Jingle Bells? Is it popular? Or maybe it is popular in Russia only?
Jenny: It is popular for children. And there are lots of silly, funny versions of Jingle Bells. that children sing. They are not always very polite. But yes, it is popular still. Children sing it in scholl. I'll send it to you. It's good one.
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