It’s about to happen. When it comes to the Russia New Year festivities, you won’t be able to defeat them, so just join them. Joining Russia for the frivolities will become nearly painless with these Russia New Year Lifehacks.
Here are my Top Ten Russia New Year Lifehacks:
- Don’t go anywhere in the week leading up to New Year’s Day. The traffic will be of Biblical proportions. And the check-out line at Auchan will be even worse. I remember in past years a 6 and a half hour traffic jam and a 90-minute checkout line. Instead, if someone suggests meeting, simply say that it would be best to meet “after the holidays”. They will understand. And since, at least in Moscow, you can get literally anything delivered to your home, just do that.
- If you make the mistake of going outside, be sure to congratulate everyone. But it is a rookie mistake to say “Happy New Year” at any moment before midnight on New Year’s. Instead, you must say “With the Coming New Year”. Be sure to say this to the taxi driver, cashier, literally everyone you cross paths with. Saying “Happy New Year” or “With The New Year” is reserved for roughly 15 minutes of the year and is almost immediately followed by a phrase that goes something like “With The New Year That Has Now Arrived”. (I swear I’m not making this up).
- If someone asks you what your New Year’s plans are, they might be inviting you somewhere. If you prefer to stay at home, make something up about your plans. Like Bali or Dubai. But if you accept the invitation, do not try to understand what you are witnessing, just observe… and enjoy.
- In Russia, the New Year’s party really starts at midnight. Anything you see or experience before then is simply a warm-up procedure.
- It’s worth going to the city center (of any Russian city) ONCE in your lifetime (and once only) for the fireworks display and general frivolities.
- There can never be too much mandarin orange or mayonnaise consumption in one sitting. Grated beets over salted herring… with mayonnaise, is a thing. It’s fantastic.
- Don’t try to do anything productive until after the Russian Old New Year. Yes, that’s also a thing. Engaging in commerce or any productive activity really during the first two weeks of January in Russia is not. Driving long-distance, however, is a thing. Because there will be no traffic.
- Find out which museums during the holidays are free of charge in your city. Feel super cultural/super budget-friendly by visiting them. This web-site that I know nothing about, provides a list of free museums for Moscow and St. Petersburg during the 2019 holidays (use the translate feature of your web browser).
- Plan a wallet-friendly short getaway to a more obscure Russian city that is not too close and not too far. If you are in St. Petersburg, I recommend going to Vyborg, and if you are in Moscow, I recommend Kostroma.
- There might be a movie about a man who mixes up his Moscow apartment with an apartment in St. Petersburg. This clever premise is followed by a painfully slowly escalating series of events. If you are feeling reckless, suggest to your friends that you watch the modern sequel instead (it escalates more quickly).
BONUS CONTENT: I recently congratulated the subscribers of my Russian video blog from a Russian dacha. Enjoy… and click the CC button at the bottom right of the screen for English subtitles! And depending on when you read this, I congratulate you with the upcoming/New Year/Arrived New Year.