Christmas Lights



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The first Christmas decorations appeared on the Athens’ streets, in shop windows, and houses before Thanksgiving. One could see that people were already prepared to celebrate Christmas, although Christmas Day was far off. As for the Ukrainians, they start decorating their houses a few days before New Year. In Ukraine the New Year celebration is followed by Christmas, January 7, and then the so-called ‘Old New Year’, January 13 (according to the Gregorian calendar as in the most other Orthodox Christian countries). So people admire the decorations till mid-January. If I am going to celebrate both American and Ukrainian holidays I will have to keep my house decorated for about three months.

On the whole, Christmas decorations people use in Ukraine are of the same kind as those used here, in the US. However, at night, when it gets dark, everyone can see the difference. American houses are decorated with sparkling and blinking multicolored outdoor lights. Ukrainians use indoor lights mostly. Every Ukrainian is able to appreciate the beauty of outdoor lights, but after the first excitement fades away, s/he realizes that it is a very expensive pleasure. I am afraid the tradition to decorate the houses inside only will stay for a long time, because we can’t afford outdoor lights due to costly power. Besides, they may be stolen on the very first night. So far, only businesses and organizations can afford outdoor lights in my home country.

One of the first gifts we got from our neighbors in Athens was colored lights. Perhaps, the neighbors hoped our house would sparkle at night as the others do, but we are using them indoors. It is not a tribute our Ukrainian tradition. It's just because I could not find a power outlet outdoors. I did not want to put a hole in the wall to make an electrical socket there. If we were going to stay in this house at least for a year, I would certainly do it.

When one feels that the house is his own he does his best to make it look nice.


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