|New Years decorations and the security |
guard in my building.
And North American kids get off easy, too. All they have to do is be good all year long, and then fall asleep, and magically presents appear in their stockings and under the tree when they awake Christmas morning. Maybe they leave out a cookie or two and a glass of milk, but relatively speaking, it's not a lot of work. Kazakh kido's, however, have to work a bit harder for their gifts. They have to prepare a song, poem, or a short story of some kind, and present it to Santa Claus. Only then does Santa reward them with their gift. Imagine the pressure! What does Santa prefer - a song? But I can't sing! What if I write him a poem. Does it have to rhyme? Santa's a bit intimidating. I'm glad I was born in North America, and all I have to do is fall asleep to get my presents.
And here Santa has a sidekick! No, it's not an elf - those are reserved for the North American jaunt. He brings his niece or his granddaughter (that part got lost in translation), who makes fun of him. I wonder if our Santa is even the same guy as the Дед Мороз character. Дед Мороз is depicted as a really old, slightly senile guy who is easily bamboozled by this niece/granddaughter character. The Santa that I grew up knowing was cunning, wise, and of sound judgment. Perhaps that's why Дед Мороз doesn't have to make the notorious naughty-or-nice list, but just has to listen to a short poem and then dole out a gift.
A lot of the other traditions that we associate with Christmastime have worked their way into Kazakhstan's New Years. There are trees decorated with lights everywhere. Ornaments, red-and-green M&M's, and candles are for sale only this time of year. I would like to see what happens on New Years day here! Maybe next year - this year I'm headed to Italy to see about their Christmas and New Year's traditions!