Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas at our house

December 25th is an ordinary day in Ukraine. Hard to believe, I know, but it is true. All of the Christmas holiday traditions Americans are accustomed to are celebrated here in Ukraine.... only at New Year's. In America we have a Christmas tree, gifts, Santa Claus, a big holiday meal, etc... on December 25th. The Ukrainians have a New Year's tree, gifts, Grandfather Frost, a big holiday meal, fireworks, etc.... on December 31st. Christmas Day for Ukrainians is January 7th. Why January 7th? Because they follow the Julius calendar which puts Christmas two weeks later than we celebrate it. However, Christmas Day here is just a religious holiday and celebrated on a very small scale in comparison to the way we celebrate it in America. But, I will tell you.... we have nothing to boast about when it comes to celebrating New Year's. Ukrainians, hands down, outdo us when it comes to celebrating this day on the calendar!

In this post, I have chosen to share with you my Christmas decorations. I know that Christmas is over, but keep in mind that for us, it is not. So, when do we celebrate Christmas then? Well, we are Americans and always will be, which means we still celebrate December 25th. It was a bit disturbing our first year in Ukraine to realize that people were still going to work, we were expected to be in language school that day, and life just went on as normal. However, we still set apart this day to celebrate in the way we grew up celebrating. Truly no one really knows when Jesus was born, so the day is not really something to argue about. But, we still hold to our childhood traditions. However, as the saying goes, "When in Rome, do like the Romans." So, for us, "When in Ukraine, do like the Ukrainians." So what did we do December 31st? We kept our Christmas tree up, had a get-together at our house with a big meal, exchanged gifts, watched fireworks, and did not get to bed until 4am. Though we will not celebrate Christmas January 7th or January 14th (which is known as "the old New Year's day"), our Christmas decorations will be standing tall until January 15th.... just as the Ukrainians' decorations will be.

I know that my decorations are simple, and I realize that no one will be knocking on my door to take pictures for the next Better Homes and Gardens magazine. But, these are the Christmas decorations the Lord has blessed us with in the last seven years here on the mission field, and we are very happy with them. Our Christmas this year was, by far, one of the best we have ever celebrated because it was the first year we were in our own home! I pray that many more Sloan Christmases will be celebrated under this roof, and that one day our children will be longing to return to this very place for the holidays when they are grown.


  1. So sweet,as well as imformative regarding the traditions. Thanks

  2. I completely understand everything you talked about. It was the same way in Russia. However, this year was different again for us since it is our first year in Estonia. Estonian's celebrate Christmas on the 25th. Everything is very festive everywhere! Of course, there were lots of fireworks on new year's eve too. Glad you are enjoying your Christmas season!


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25