"That's the way it is" is the universal reply to anything that you may find "slightly" strange in Russia. However, if any of this sounds a bit like you, perhaps…
For you, New Year's Eve is FAR more important than Christmas. The latter is "just another holiday” and you even celebrate it. New Year's Eve is the real deal!
You hate small talk and consider it a waste of time.
Coffee? No thank you. Could I please have a cup of very strong and sweet black tea with lemon.
You see nothing strange in wearing a (natural) fur coat, preferably a floor-length one, everyday in winter, even when doing your grocery shopping.
You’re afraid of sitting on cold surfaces and put so many clothes on your children in winter that they look like astronauts in spacesuits (and can hardly move).
You’re afraid of the cold but no one believes you. Foreigners are genuinely surprised when you say: "I am freezing."
You or some of your friends live in a Khrushchyovka, a prefab (and ugly) apartment block built all across the country between 1950 and 1960.
To clean your apartment before the maid or a cleaner comes is normal. Otherwise, you would be ashamed for "the mess.”
When you’re with other people, you drink alcohol only after a toast has been proposed.
At home, you change into your home clothes. You do not remain in the jeans you wore to work and on the metro.
And another thing, you simply adore Adidas tracksuits (you think they’re ideal clothes for wearing at home or nipping out for a pack of cigarettes).
When preparing for a long train journey (24 hours and more), you pack boiled eggs, cucumbers, roasted chicken, and an Adidas tracksuit.
At home, you have a case full of medicine for any eventuality.
You have a carpet hanging on the wall.
You adore mayonnaise and mix it with pasta, put it on bread, use it as salad dressing, and even make mayonnaise "cake."
You take your shoes or boots off before you enter somebody's home.
You keep your decorated New Year (not Xmas) tree for a very-very long time. Perhaps even until spring. Nobody wants to bother removing it.
You go to a banya with friends and take turns to whip each other's naked bodies with this:
It’s a bath broom, usually made from birch tree branches.
When Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is shown on TV it triggers anxiety in you and thoughts of death (because during the Soviet Union it was shown on TV on days of mourning, and it was also shown during the August 1991 coup).
You think wandering in the forest for five hours picking mushrooms is an excellent pastime.
When you are invited over to a friend's place, you bring a small gift or some food.
You know several verses from Pushkin's poems by heart.
On New Year's Eve, you prepare enough food to last you for at least the next three days. To you, this is what New Year celebrations are about.
Generally speaking, your standard plan for New Year's Eve consists of eating a lot (starting from midnight), drinking champagne, and watching old Soviet films (the same ones every year).
...And every year on Jan 1 you watch Home Alone with Macaulay Culkin and the original Star Wars.
Outdoor temperature of -30℃ is no excuse not to go to school, to skive work, or to cancel a meeting with friends. It’s no excuse for anything.
You always applaud when the plane touches down. You are, of course, unaware that the pilots cannot hear you.
You think that asking a woman her age is impolite and may offend her.
You spit three times over your left shoulder if you have voiced some unpleasant prediction and do not want it to materialize.
Equally, you do not think it strange to wear high-heel shoes for no reason at all. This is your footwear of choice when you go to work, shopping, or take a walk in a park.
When you invite somebody to your place, you prepare a proper spread. Like here:
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