These Strange People

Podcast Show with Marie Staroverova
and Native Speakers Club
#4 Что делают мамы на Рождество в Северной Америке?
Добрый день! Я, Мари Староверова, приветствую вас на шоу "These strange people - Эти странные люди", которое мы делаем совместно с проектом Native Speakers Club.

Native Speakers Club - это уникальное пространство для погружения в иностранные языки в самом центре Москвы.

Слушайте образовательно-развлекательные подкасты с носителями иностранных языков о том, в чем мы разные, а в чем мы похожи. Сегодня мы продолжаем беседовать с Джесси о Рождественских и Новогодних праздниках. Сегодня в живой беседе Джесси поделится, как отмечали Рождество в его семье, когда он был ребенком, откуда брали елку, что на праздник делала мама, как открывались подарки и во что играли дети.

Приготовьтесь слушать подкаст на английском языке!
Рабочая тетрадь для занятий по 4 подкастам
Мы не отправляем спам и не передаем ваши контакты третьим лицам
— Hello, Jessy! Our listeners asked a lot of questions how you celebrate Christmas back home. So maybe you could think about your childhood, when you were a small kid and answer a couple of questions. So how did you prepare for Christmas in your family? What exactly did you do?
The first thing we did was to start decorating our house. We would string lights outside and inside the house. We would start putting up tints all around the house, we did art projects. Then a little bit later closer to Christmas probably around twentieth - nineteenth-twentieth - we get a tree.

This is the one day of the year when everything everywhere shuts down and everyone goes home. This date - the 25th - is sacred, especially for children who are awaiting the arrival of Saint Nicholas - or as we call him today: Santa Claus.

— Was it a real fir tree? or an artificial one?
Yes, we always got real trees
— Where did you get it?
Well, believe it or not, when I was a really little kid we lived close to the forest and my dad, and I had these wonderful memories of us walking together in the forest, in the snowy forest of Canada and selecting a tree, and my dad would actually cut down the tree from the forest.

This was technically illegal. But it was incredibly special and it's like this family bonding happening. And we'd bring the tree back in a sleigh and dad would pull it through the snow the couple of us kids would jump on the tree. And I remember we did that a few times.
— So that was on the 20th of December?
Yea, so that way by the 25th the tree would still be quite fresh.
— And how did you decorate the tree? Was it a family tradition?
Yes, it was. My mom would decorate the tree and we would help. As we grew up, we would help more.
— Is there a tradition of buying new toys? Maybe creating these toys?
Yes, well not anymore, we do not create toys too much anymore.

But we definitely buy toys and this is an important part of Christmas tradition for children, of course. And this is part of the fun. My parents would start buying toys in December. They would hide them in different parts of the house so that we couldn't find them. It was difficult to find so many toys and exactly the right kind of toy so whenever we found them... We would go around the house looking for hiding places trying to guess what kind of toy we could get.
— Did you write letters to Santa Claus? Or it never actually happened?
I may have. That wasn't a big tradition for our family.
— What about presents?
Presents - yes. So what we do, on the 24th or 23rd my Mom would start wrapping all the presents at night. And then presents would start stacking under the tree. So that the 24th night of 24th all bottom of the tree was covered with presents. We would come and sit and look at them
— When did you open the presents?
According to our family tradition we would open one small present on Christmas Eve, 24th. And then for the rest of the presents we had to wait until Christmas Day, Christmas morning.
— So you opened presents in the morning?
Right, and for us, of course, the anticipation is a big part of the fun. So we're anticipating Christmas for over a whole month. And every day it gets closer and closer to Christmas and this is what creates that kind of magical environment and everyone in any country in the world does the same thing so it has this dynamic of anticipation. Pretty amazing!
— Did your mom cook anything special for Christmas festive meal?
We had our festive meal on the 25th. The evening of the 25th. Some people have their big meal on the evening of the 24th, on Christmas Eve.

On the 24th, that was our Christmas cookie evening. So we would help my Mom make Christmas cookies of different kinds and decorate them and we'd sit around and have Christmas cookie and hot chocolate. As we looked at our presents trying to guess what might be in there.
— Did you go to the church? Do people go to church on Christmas Eve or next morning?
Some people go on Christmas Eve, some people go on Christmas morning. Different traditions. But we usually did.. Often we did … Some years we did.. Usually on 24th. Usually we had an afternoon church session for the children and then we had later a night session for the adults.
— Do you watch any special movies or cartoons on Christmas Day?
Sure, we had traditional Christmas cartoons that we would watch
— Do you remember the names?
I don't. I don't really remember the names. There were standard Christmas cartoons and movies that we would watch. But we didn't really watch too much because we were busy playing with our new toys and playing outside in the snow.
— What kind of winter activities did you do?
Well, our favorite was tubing. So we'd find a big hill and we had a big tube. Really big tube. I was a kid. I remember it being enormous. It was pretty big. I remember we would all jump on at the same time and go down the hill and would come home soaking wet. And then my Mom would have cookies baking and get dried and get dry clothes on and sit around eating cookies and watching the Christmas lights.
— Well, Jessy, thank you very much for sharing. That was very interesting.
I'll tell you one more tradition that us children developed. I remember being very excited when I was a kid. Because for us, the most exciting thing was opening our presents. What did we get? Did we get what we asked for?

And I remember at night, the 24th. Trying to go sleep it was very difficult. I tried to make myself go to sleep quickly so that I could wake up. So that time would pass quickly. And I remember being so difficult to get to sleep because I was so excited. But then I would go to sleep obviously.

I'd get up and I remember I was usually the first to wake up. I would go and wake up my brothers and sisters and we would go downstairs. My parents were still sleeping and they didn't let us wake them up. And we would go down the stairs and we had to wait for them and it seemed that we were waiting for many many hours. Maybe it was only a couple of hours.

And we would just sit in front of the Christmas tree. Usually, the snow was falling, maybe it was snowy outside. Early morning. It was dark. And we would sit around the tree and watch the blinking lights of the tree maybe for 2 or 3 hours and wonder what was inside those boxes. And for us it was very exciting.
Заниматься по словам из подкаста можно тут