In Russia the people don't celebrate catholic Christmas. The orthodox Christmas is on 7th of January, so they celebrate first the New Year and after a week - the Christmas. And mostly, comparing these two holidays, the New Year is more popular in Russia and celebrated very broadly. By statistics, it is the most loved holiday in the country.
The Russian New Year heros are the Grandfather Frost and his pretty granddaughter Snegurochka. She helps her old and kind grandfather to prepare the presents for children and put them in the big sack. Before the New Year they come to the houses and put the presents under the New Year tree. Every morning one week before the holiday children check if there are any presents and one day they finally find them!!!
The Grandfather Frost also comes to children’s celebration in the kindergarten and school to play with themб sing and dance round the New Year tree and to give sweets to those who will tell a rhyme about the New Year or winter.
In the ancient Russia the Slavs celebrated the New Year in March and this holiday signified the coming of spring. The people used to decorate the birches with many-colored ribbons, burn a straw woman symbolizing winter and frost and dance in a ring. Now this holiday is alive and is called Maslenitsa. In winter the Slavs had another holiday called Kolyada. Peter the Great issued a decree to celebrate the New Year like in Europe the 31 of December and the tradition to decorate the firtree came from Germany.
How do the people celebrate the New Year in Russia? Of course, the best way is to celebrate it with the most dearest people. They prepare delicious food - traditional salads called "Olivier" and "Herring under fur coat" (you can see the recipes in the Russian food), and some hot dish with meat or fish. Traditionally there is a bottle of Champaign on the table and 10 minutes to midnight they listen to the president's speech by TV and at 0:00 the Kremlin chiming clock begins to ring, they open Champaign with bang and make wish and hug one another. After the meal there are usually dances and games or everybody go outside to wish Happy New Year to other people and see the fireworks.