Still Celebrating Christmas… Schastlivogo Rozhdestva! #Christmas #Books

Today is Orthodox Christmas. Schastlivogo Rozhdestva! Technically, my family celebrates Christmas on the 25th of December, but we continue the season through January. We are still celebrating the season with books, crafts, and recipes. Here’s what I’m reading:

Sunless Solstice: Strange Tales for the Longest Nights – Edited by Lucy Evans and Tanya Kirk

Goodreads is excellent for recommendations. That’s how I discovered this book. Although not traditional for some people, I love haunting ghost stories throughout the year. With that said, I’m not into horror. Hopefully, this is exactly what I’m looking for.

Another festive edition to the Tales of the Weird series, following on from Spirits of the Season and Chill Tidings. A unique selection ranging from the spooky haunted houses of Victorian Christmastime to experimental twentieth-century horrors. It offers a truly international scope of stories, from the pine forests of Canada to the peaks of the Alps.

Like any other boy I expected ghost stories at Christmas, that was the time for them. What I had not expected, and now feared, was that such things should actually become real.

Strange things happen on the dark wintry nights of December. Welcome to a new collection of haunting Christmas tales, ranging from traditional Victorian chillers to weird and uncanny episodes by twentieth-century horror masters including Daphne du Maurier and Robert Aickman.

Lurking in the blizzard are menacing cat spirits, vengeful trees, malignant forces on the mountainside and a skater skirting the line between the mortal and spiritual realms. Wrap up warm – and prepare for the longest nights of all. 

A Very Russian Christmas by Leo Tolstoy,  Fyodor Dostoevsky,  Anton Chekhov,  Mikhail Zoshchenko,  Klavdia Lukashevich,  Vladimir Korolenko,  Maxim Gorky,  Teffi

After enjoying A Very Scandinavian Christmas, I went on to purchase the Russian storybook and also the Irish version. We’re reading both at the same time.

A Very Russian Christmas: Running the gamut from sweet and reverent to twisted and uproarious, and with many of the stories appearing in English for the first time, this is a collection that will satisfy every reader. Dostoevsky brings stories of poverty and tragedy, Tolstoy inspires with his fable-like tales, Chekhov’s unmatchable skills are on full display in a story about a female factory owner and the wretched workers, Klavdia Lukashevitch delights with a sweet and surprising tale of a childhood in White Russia, and Mikhail Zoshchenko recounts madcap anecdotes of Christmas trees and Christmas thieves. There is no shortage of vodka or wit on display here, in a collection that proves, with its wonderful variety and remarkable human touch, that Nobody Does Christmas Like the Russians.

The very first tale we read in A Very Irish Christmas was “Christmas Pudding,” and it had me giggling. I couldn’t wait to read it to my husband who’s Irish. Neither of us had ever heard the story. These books have exposed me to so many new authors and new literature. My hope is to collect this entire series.

A Very Irish Christmas: The sixth volume in our popular Very Christmas series, this collection transports readers to the Emerald Isle with stories and poems sure to bring holiday cheer. This anthology is packed with beloved classics, forgotten treasures, and modern masterpieces. You’ll find wondrous works by James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Elizabeth Bowen, Anne Enright, William Trevor, Colm Tóibín, Bernard MacLaverty and many more. See how Christmas is done in snowy Dublin and on the mean streets of Belfast, from west coast to east, and even across sea and ocean to Irish communities in London and New York City. Put a flickering candle in the window and a steaming dinner on the table, and celebrate the Irish way—Nollaig Shona Daoibh—and Merry Christmas!

My youngest daughter picked this book out from our library, and it’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read. Had we read this last year, Where Snow Angels Go would’ve come in at #1 as our favorite children’s book of 2021.

This is much larger than your average children’s picture book, containing harder vocabulary and longer reading. I’ve already purchased a copy for our Christmas collection, and I’ll review it on my next children’s book post.

Have you ever woken up suddenly, in the middle of the night, without knowing why? Best-selling and award-winning master storyteller Maggie O’Farrell weaves an extraordinary and compelling modern fairy tale about the bravery of a little girl and the miracle of a snowy day.

Sylvie wakes one night, suddenly, without knowing why. Then she sees the most spectacular sight – a pair of wings, enormous in size, made of the softest snow-white feathers imaginable. An angel in her bedroom … a SNOW angel! He tells her that he is here to look after her, for Sylvie is not as well as she seems… Many months later, as Sylvie recovers from her illness, she longs to see her snow angel again. He saved her life! There is so much she wants to tell him, so much she wants to know! Will he ever come back to her? And how can Sylvie make sure that everyone she loves has their own snow angel, to keep them safe, too?

We finally finished our Gingerbread Christmas tree. It’s so imperfect, but the kids loved making this little, rotating tree. It seems to be common for gingerbread kits to lack the proper amount of icing. What made up for this was the addition of LED lights.

The gumdrop tree is holding up as we refill it, even though it has suffered a few breaks over Christmas.

I took my older kids in to get their Covid booster shot yesterday, and CVS had Christmas M&M’s on clearance. I’m sad that we didn’t hand out cookies this year, but I couldn’t find baklava dough anywhere, and it just bummed me out. My hope is to make Russian tea cakes this weekend and some standard chocolate chip cookies with M&M’s. The kids will enjoy making cookies all over again.

We purchased this advent craft tree at Michaels, but with the hustle and bustle of everything, we didn’t get it finished. My youngest daughter had the idea to complete it after December’s Christmas. I figured, why not use it as a ‘twelve days of Christmas’ activity instead? So, because today is Orthodox Christmas, we’re working on completing this over the next twelve days. As you can see, we’ve completed only three of the crafts.

The Christmas tree is still up, along with the nutcrackers, and it looks like we may hang on to the Christmas season for a large portion of January.

What about you? Do you put your Christmas decorations away right after Christmas? Do you have any good Christmas books to recommend? Rather than Christmas, does your family celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?

Let’s chat!

15 thoughts on “Still Celebrating Christmas… Schastlivogo Rozhdestva! #Christmas #Books

  1. What a fun post! I love your gingerbread tree and your decorations. That nutcracker collection is seriously cool!
    I take my Christmas decorations down on New Year’s Eve, but I put them up kind of early (the day after Thanksgiving). I think it’s festive you continue Christmas into January with the Orthodox Christmas.
    And I have to say, I’m attracted to the sound of Sunless Solstice. Like you, I’m a fan of spooky ghost stories, but don’t really care for horror. Bring on the goose bumps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mae! We put ours up fairly early too–on Thanksgiving or the day after like you. I’m Russian Orthodox, but we don’t actually attend church services any longer. I still like to carry on with some of my grandmother Tatiana’s traditions though.

      I’ll let you know how Sunless Solstice turns out. Hopeful! ❤ Happy reading to you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had never heard of that tradition. Of course, I had to look it up because I love to know about different cultural traditions. That’s very cool and sounds sort of like celebrating the 12 days (plus some) of Christmas since you begin on the 25th. I think it would be such a happy time to extend the holiday ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really neat. Many people think the twelve days are a countdown to Christmas, but it’s actually after. Usually we’d go with the 25th on, but this year it’ll be the 7th on because we’re using Orthodox Christmas instead. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, so I don’t mind continuing throughout January. Thanks, Tessa. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mischenko – I really enjoyed this post. You make me feel like I’m right there in your house with your family, enjoying all your traditions. How nice that you extend your celebration into January. Our decorations are all packed up (life with minimalists) but you’ve given me some ideas for how to decorate and celebrate next year (I love that gumdrop tree!). I looked up that book, Where Snow Angels Go, at our library. It’s checked out til the end of the month so I know it’s a good one!


  4. starjustin

    What an awesome post Jen, so much to share. I still feel bad about the gum drop tree but it looks great in the pic. The nutcrackers and wreath are amazing. Please send me that pic when you find time.

    Liked by 1 person

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