Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas - The Ukrainian Sequel

There are two great things about being Ukrainian. First thing is the food. Yum. Second would be the noses we all ‘inherit’ from our elders. Kidding! No, the second greatest thing about being Ukrainian is…Ukrainian Christmas! 
Time to put away the North Face and get out the Ukrainian garb! Nothing in the world feels better than a pair of red leather knee-high boots. Our family pictures for Ukrainian Christmas pretty much look exactly like this.

What could be better than taking the best holiday of the year – and then doing it all over again? Bring on the food. Bring on the family. Let’s do it all over again, just at the time when you’ve maybe finally lost most of the weight you gained 2 weeks ago. 

And presents! It’s great to have a second round of gift giving. Not all Ukrainians make the gift giving a part of their second celebration, but when my brother, sister and I were growing up, we often would wake up to happily find another wrapped present under the tree for each of us (along with a million dried out needles from the tree which had stopped sucking up water weeks before). I also seem to remember that each year we’d make some sort of argument of how it was so totally disrespectful to be going to school on such a special occasion, but not only did we have to go to school as usual, we’d even have to do homework that night if we had any. So much for holiday spirit...
Usually we'd only find one gift each under the tree, nicely wrapped. The gifts were always really good too since we knew Santa could get post-Christmas Boxing Day deals.

Anyway, tonight is Ukrainian Christmas eve. It’s mid-winter, it’s cold, and I’m feeling a little bit bound by the elements of winter and would love to be traveling somewhere in the world. Honestly, I could have my bags packed and be gone by evening – but sadly that’s unlikely to happen.
I received some great presents from our previous Christmas gift giving, but when your passion in life is travel, sometimes there are things you’d love to put on your Christmas list, but they wouldn’t be easy (or affordable) for my friends or family to purchase. My wife finds it impossibly difficult to buy for me when I tend to have everything I need already. Meanwhile, if I could add items like a trip to Europe or an eco-tour in Costa Rica, I could easily provide a list in mere minutes that wouldn’t kill anyone’s brain cells in the process. But with the price limit we set on each other’s gifts, I don’t think I’m going to make it much further than maybe Morris, Manitoba.
So I have a brilliant idea – this year, I’m going to write a letter to Santa with my wish list for Ukrainian Christmas. Since only Ukrainians are sending in their lists for this special night, it should be easy to get what I’m requesting with so little competition for his time and special gifts. And to make it even more fun and festive, I’ve put my wish list into a song format that follows the tune of “My Favourite Things” from the Sound of Music.

Here we go:
Dear Santa,
I’ve been a good boy all year long. I go to bed early, get up early, wash the dishes, mow the lawn, wash the cars (well, I take them to an automatic car wash, but heck, I still have to drive there), talk to the neighbours, and I even sometimes answer the phone when I know it’s a telemarketer (they get lonely too, I’m sure). It’s Ukrainian Christmas, and I’ve tried to live a good Ukrainian lifestyle. I’ve started pinching my nephew’s cheeks and calling Safeway ‘Safeways’ and the Bay ‘the Bays’ just like my dear old Grandma used to (not sure where the habit of adding in an extra s comes from, but I’m going to assume it’s a Ukrainian thing).
And just to confirm, was it cookies or perogies you wanted left by the fireplace mantel? Maybe I’ll leave both!
And so, here’s my list for Christmas tonight, again, in the form of a song:
Sunscreen on noses and tickets to Britain
Airplanes of metal and postcards you’ve written
Luggage all packed and gondoliers who sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Traveling with homeys and crisp Asian noodles
Jet ways and cafes and artists that doodle
Bike trips and boat rides and countries with Kings
These are a few of my favorite things
Booking flights on-line and drinks on a terrace
Bright sunny beaches and cafés in Paris
Gulls by the ocean with sun on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
When the frost bites
And my mood swings
When I need travel bad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
[Repeat all verses - then go book a trip!]
Merry Ukrainian Christmas to all!


Susan Kuz said...

Sounds like its time for a trip somewhere soon! And maybe we'd better expand our gift budget so we can at least get to Grand Forks, ND? Do they have eco tours to Grand Forks?

rdomaschuk said...

Evan, Evan, Evan...

You should have mentioned the reason Ukrainian Christmas is two weeks later: we had trouble finding three wise men!

Evan Kuz said...

Hilarious! Plus we would have considered staying at the manger an upgrade from the usual lodgings we'd find ourselves staying at when traveling as kids!