Christmas in the Ukraine

A lady I know was kind enough to share how Ukrainians typically spend Christmas in the Ukraine.

“Christmas Eve is the evening of January 6. All day we do not eat and get ready for the evening. As soon as the first star appears we sit down to dinner. We prepare 12 different dishes. The main dish is Kutya. It is made from wheat, nuts, honey and poppy seeds. We also cook traditional Ukrainian Christmas compote of dried fruits – uzvar. Pirozhok – is a dish made of dough stuffed, baked or fried. There are different recipes for pirozhki. The differences relate to the butter (usually used yeast) and toppings. It can be with meat, cabbage, potato, mushrooms. And also sweet with jam, apples, cherries and many others.

Ded Moroz is our version of Santa Claus. Ded Moroz is depicted as an old man in color – blue, red or white coat, with a long white beard and a stick in his hand. Rides a trio of horses. Inseparable with his granddaughter Snegurochka, usually depicted in white, silver or blue coat. New Year’s Eve Ded Moroz put presents under the Christmas tree for children.”

Gift Giving in the Ukraine

This can be easily misunderstood. Gift giving has a special meaning if you find yourself in a relationship. Initially during dating it is a small issue. The choice is yours, but if there is a connection after a second or third date, try not to show up empty handed. Flowers or candy should do nicely.

Of course you need to be on guard for inappropriate requests for expenditures. Often times this can lead to scamming.

Among families, especially during their frequent holidays, gift giving has a special meaning. It is a bit different than in America. Surprise is not a necessary factor. Family members may actually reveal what they would prefer as a gift. This is not being greedy, but it is part of their culture. A nice gift is considered a major sign of affection and respect.

How does this affect you? If you find yourself in a strong relationship and you are invited to her home for dinner, gifts for everyone will be the order of the day. Again, this is not greed, it is just good manners. Your lady should be able to help you select the right items for each family member. Once she considers you her boyfriend, you may be expected to provide a measure of ongoing support leading to a more permanent relationship.

A Ukrainian Christmas Carol Fantasy

It is hard not to see the many versions of this Charles Dickens classic on TV during the Christmas season. By the way, Christmas in the Ukraine is not December, 25th but January 7th. Of course everyone enjoys this classic. Perhaps it is a stretch, but let’s ponder a fantasy.

The original tale concerns Scrooge who finds himself in a strange dream where everything he has come to know and believe is turned upside down until he has an epiphany concerning his character and how he should live his life going forward.

Imagine a totally different America. You are a great looking guy in your twenties. You take good care of yourself, dress well and only want to find a special lady to love. However, you have a problem - there are far more guys just like yourself than available women.

The ladies can afford to be very selective; don’t have to be concerned about their behavior, fidelity or even their appearance. The competition among all the good looking guys you know is fierce. Although you have a heart of gold and only want to find love, life is very difficult. You see, if you are lucky to have a job, you only earn about $300 a month and live in a small apartment with other family members. You don’t have a car. You work 10 – 12 hours a day, six days a week, even though you are well educated and may be a teacher.

This part will tax your imagination. Even though things are very bleak for you here in the US, there are some countries overseas where things are very different. Here, although the gender ratio is roughly equal, the women can’t really find what they are looking for. Oh, their economy is much better than yours. Not all of them are wealthy, but they can afford to travel and have cars, decent jobs and homes.

Although they may have good hearts and intentions, they are not necessarily the most attractive women in the world. Usually they are a bit older and may have a bit of weight, etc.

Now, because of this disparity, ladies will travel here on their own or agencies offer to send them here where there are thousands of very attractive, younger guys willing to relocate and marry the right lady although she may not be their dream date. These ladies can write to you and many do although few of them will actually come here to meet you.

You are really hoping to meet a great gal and get something started, but the odds are against you. I have probably taken this fantasy as far as I can, but you see what I mean. Simply reverse the gender.

Before you go on a romance journey, try to put yourself in their shoes. How do you think they feel? What do they think of us? How should you behave?

Here comes a new year. Will you still be sitting on your couch next New Year’s Eve writing dozens of letters to ladies you will never travel to meet? Or will you “seize the day” and book a flight to change your life. I really hope that it is the latter. We are all responsible for our own happiness. It takes courage, research and good intentions to succeed.

Just be thankful that this Ukrainian Christmas fantasy was just that – a fantasy. We are blessed that we can travel to Ukraine where the situation is the reverse.