Traditional Russian Christmas and New Year Gifts for Men

How do we choose and buy original Christmas and New Year gifts for men, the ones they will actually like and appreciate? This season, try to go Russian and enjoy the choice of inexpensive but classy gift ideas worthy of the Czar’s Christmas celebration.

Technically speaking, the Russians didn’t celebrate Christmas since 1926 until 1992. In those atheist days of the Soviet era, Christmas was officially banned and replaced by the New Year season. So even these days, Russians prefer to exchange gifts on the New Year’s Eve, while Christmas remains a strictly religious holiday only celebrated in Orthodox Christian families. Today’s Russians don’t exchange gifts on Christmas (which, incidentally, is celebrated in Russia not on December 25th, but on January 7th, due to the difference in church calendars).

Here’s a short list of most popular gift ideas from Russian men:

What to Give Men for Christmas: A Vintage Watch

Soviet-era men’s watches were famous for their precision and sturdiness. Created for super professionals – test pilots, commandos and spacemen – who had to work in a tough and unpredictable environment, watches like Shturmanskie (the first watch in space), Polyot (created specially for space research teams) and Vostok (the choice of the military) boast unsurpassed precision mechanisms, reliability and longevity.

Today, these makes, together with many others, produce new versions of the legendary vintage watches Russia is famous for. Prices start at just $250 in online shops.

Traditional Russian Christmas Gifts for Men: A Piece of Jewelry

This is a very Christmas-appropriate gift, whether it’s a small silver or gold crucifix on a matching chain for a practising Orthodox Christian or a tie pin (and/or a pair of matching cufflinks) for an atheist. It’s very important not to overdo it and always keep in mind the man’s tastes: a bearded, tattooed biker is unlikely to have much use for a tiepin.

Please note: if you’re buying religious objects, including jewelry like crucifixes, icons and even crucifix chains, as a Christmas or New Year gift for practicing Orthodox Christians, these objects need to have been consecrated by an appropriate religious authority prior to selling. It doesn’t affect the price, but does affect the religious purpose of the object.

Original Russian New Year Gift Ideas for Men: a Magazine Subscription

This is the most foolproof and universal Christmas or New Year gift idea for men. All you need to know is the person’s interests and tastes. From politics to computer engineering, from music to DIY, there’s a magazine in this world for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

While the Internet provides enough information for the savvy, there’s nothing like the feeling of pulling a glossy parcel out of your mailbox… one of the typically Russian gift ideas no man can refuse.

More Seasonal Gift Ideas for Men: A Tour to a Country of His Choice

For those with a few pennies to spend, a recent poll shows that the gift Russian men value the most is a tour to a country of their choice. Certain travel agencies provide a blank travel voucher that can be later used to purchase a tour to any country of your choice, within the agency’s possibilities.

Alternatively, a travel-oriented gift like a posh flight bag for a corporate worker or a vintage compass for an adventure traveler will put them into the New Year mood. As long as your consideration shows in the choice of your gift, the price tag (which you will have removed, of course) doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Bad Russian Gift Ideas: What Not to Give a Man for Christmas

Whatever you buy, make sure you forgo the objects your man won’t use or finds too mundane. That applies (as we’re talking Russian gifts here) to all sorts of nesting dolls, lacquer boxes, hand-pained eggs or porcelain figurines. Mundane objects, from pieces of clothing to keychains, are too boring: let him buy them himself if he thinks he needs them.

One final tip: if you just can’t think of a suitable Christmas or New Year present for a man in your life, cash is a quite acceptable gift these days. In this case, it’s a good idea to attach a small Christmas-themed decoration or trinket to the fancy envelope containing the notes. After all, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?