In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. As a result, New Years celebrations became much larger and came to include New Year gift exchanges and New Year trees. With the fall of Communism, Christmas finally regained its lost glory and was declared a national holiday in the country. Since then, it is openly celebrated on January 7th. The date is different from the rest of the world because the Russian Orthodox church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days.
On Christmas the family gathers around the table to honor the coming Christ Child. A white tablecloth is used to symbolize Christ’s swaddling clothes and hay is displayed as a reminder of the poverty of the place where Jesus was born. A tall white candle is placed in the center of the Table, to symbolize Christ – the “Light of the World.” A large round loaf of “pagach”, a special Lenten bread, is placed beside the candle to symbolize Christ – the “Bread of Life”.
The father begins the Christmas meal by leading the family in the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year and for the good things to come in the new year. The head of the family greets those present with “Christ is Born!” – the traditional Russian Christmas greeting – and the family responds with “Glorify Him!” The Lenten bread (Pagach) is then broken and shared. The bread is dipped first in honey to symbolize the sweetness of life and then in chopped garlic to symbolize life’s bitterness. The “Holy Supper” is then eaten. Traditionally, it consists of 12 different foods, symbolic of the 12 Apostles. After dinner the family goes to church for the Christmas Mass which lasts until after midnight.
Both New Year and Orthodox Russian Christmas involve feasting and Christmas presents exchanges between friends and family members. New Years is generally a bit grander holiday celebration with more focus on drinking and large gatherings. For this reason, food baskets and spirits baskets make great holiday gifts , favorites include chocolates, sweets, cookies, roasted nuts, fruit, cheese, caviar, spirits, and a variety of other gourmet treats. For many people, the holidays is the time to indulge in rich or expensive foods and drinks that they normally do not consume.
With your help we will soon be able to afford to build a new office in a shape of a basket as The Longaberger Company once did.
The Longaberger Company is an American manufacture of handcrafted maple wood baskets that also offers other home and lifestyle products, including pottery, wrought iron, fabric accessories and specialty foods.
What started out as a dream by Dave Longaberger, Founder of The Longaberger Company, has been built into a giant basket to house the entire corporate offices of the company. Longaberger believed the idea was one of his best and would draw attention to the company. But, when he started spreading the idea of building a Home Office that was really a basket, most people didn’t take him seriously. However the dream was to come true and on December 17, 1997 in Newark, Ohio there appeared the world’s largest basket and also the seven-story corporate headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company.
The basket building is a replica — 160 times larger — of Longaberger’s Medium Market Basket. It’s 192 ft. long by 126 ft. wide at the bottom, spreading to 208-ft. long by 142-ft. wide at the roofline.
In 1998, The Longaberger Home Office received a Build Ohio Award for its synthetic plaster system. The building is made of stucco over a steel structure, which helps create the look of an actual Longaberger Basket.
The Longaberger basket building is now a real point of interest that attracts not only natives but tourists as well.
We hope that in the nearest future we can also build (certainly not without your help) an office building in a shape of a basket (gift basket or flower basket) that will definitely be the largest and the coolest building in the world!
Thank you very much for your good and fast service! I live in Italy and have co-workers from US and I needed to send them a present. I was so glad when I found that you have Italian gift basket! The people were very impressed. I want to use your service in the future.”
In Germany, the Christmas season begins with Advent. A wreath of evergreens with four red candles is placed in the house. One candle is lit on each Sunday before Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, 24th December, families go to church, then feast on a large dinner of roast goose or duck (stuffed with apples), “stollen” (Christmas bread) and marzipan candy. Prior to the evening feast, is the presentation of the tree. The Christmas tree, as we know it, originated in Germany. It has a mysterious magic for the young because they are not allowed to see it until Christmas Eve. While Father amuses children in another room, Mother brings out the Christmas tree and decorates it with apples, sweets, cookies, angels, tinsel and candles or lights. The presents are placed under the tree. When all is ready a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter. Children believe that it’s Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus) who brings them Christmas presents.
Christmas Eve is the main day when Germans exchange gifts with their families but on St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6th) “der Nikolaus” also brings some small gifts, such as sweets and chocolates, to the children. He comes in the night between the 5th and the 6th and puts the Christmas presents into the shoes of the children, who usually place them by their doors on the previous evening. In some regions of Germany, there is a character called “Knecht Ruprecht” who accompanies Nikolaus. He punishes the children who were bad and gives them a birch as a present.
At small work and school parties, secret gifts are often exchanged. A door is opened just wide enough for small gifts to be thrown into the room. The gifts are then passed around among the people until each person has the right one! It is thought to be bad luck to find out who sent each present.