The Russians throw one Hell of a party, at least they did when I was in Leningrad during Perestroika. They put up trees decorated with tinsel and shiny balls just like our Christmas trees, minus religious-style ornaments and called them "New Years Trees". Then they celebrated Father Winter and the Snow Maiden, who paid us a visit. Today Now that religion is legal, they probably have gone back to their traditional Father Christmas.
We ate and drank until midnight. I stuffed on all kinds of foods, including caviar which I do not like, and little cakes and pastries. Liquor of all kinds was served, vodka, brandy, good wines. also Russian and provincial beers. After that we danced until we literally fell out with exhaustion. I danced with Father Winter. I was honored and surprised when he asked me to dance, but he may have singled me out because I was obviously an American.
I returned to my hotel room expecting to have a bad hangover in the morning, but I woke up refreshed and with no after effects. We were staying in a native Russian hotel, not a hotel for foreign tourists, so we were served native Russian foods and liquors. I'm not sure how the travelers in the tourist hotels fared because the native liquors, including vodka, don't have the additives that give the drinker the morning-after hangover.
As I stated, that was New Years 1990 and I'm sure that customs have changed with the loosening of politics. I would like to go back and visit now that the restrictions are off to see how they are celebrating.
Thanks for the opportunity for the trip down memory lane. Maybe someone else can tell us how much has changed at Christmas there in 25 years.