Christmas in Russia books

Christmas in Russia

When I think of Russia at Christmas, I think of snow, lots and lots of snow. I’m assuming that’s true, but I haven’t been there to verify it. Texas does not have a snowy Christmas, so I am unfamiliar with the idea. This meant for us a Christmas in Russia lesson was a nice addition to our Christmas Around the World unit, and a great addition to our geography lessons.

Christmas in Russia lesson

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Our Christmas in Russia books

This whole lesson was inspired when I picked up our Russia books and found three Christmas books:

Christmas in Russia books
  • Babushka: A Christmas Tale– this book reminded me of La Bafana from Italy, and to my mind used the exact same craft I did for that, which is why there is no fun craft because it would be another broom for the Christmas tree
  • Babushka, an old Russian Folktale– Basically the same story with slightly different versions and very different illustrations
  • Baboushka– And yet another version of the story

Oh wait, I found a variation on the story as a YouTube video, so if your library doesn’t have the story, you can hear the story yourself:


There are a couple more on there, but this had illustrations similar to what I’d seen elsewhere.

Russian Tea Cakes

I used the recipe from here: Russian Tea Cakes, which swears up and down it is a traditional Russian Christmas cookie.

I add this detail because years ago when we first started cooking around the world and I made a Russian meal from somewhere I’d found online I was told my Russian meal was not a proper Russian meal.

This is a nice and easy recipe, I apparently didn’t take pictures the original time, so here are my secondary pictures after making the cookies a second time (and then using them for a snack when we watched Emma, because cookies).

Russian Christmas cookies

Yield: 2 dozen

Russian tea cakes

Russian Christmas cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes 10 seconds
Total Time 27 minutes 10 seconds


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup chopped walnuts, toasted Optional)
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Beat butter and vanilla in bowl until smooth.
  3. Add powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 1 minute
  4. Slowly add the flour and salt. If you’re adding nuts this would be the time to add nuts.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are light brown.
  6. Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar
Now, here is how it actually went, you know for if you’re not printing off the recipe card.

At first things go smoothly, because after all it’s just beating butter, vanilla and powdered sugar, what could go wrong with that?

Well… we finally had worked our way through the five pounds of powdered sugar, and I was pretty sure I didn’t have any powdered sugar anywhere to find. After searching all over the various cabinets, I found a box of powdered sugar, and add it in.

Then I added in the flour, but skipped the chopped walnuts because I’m the only person in my family who actually likes them, and I really don’t need to be eating two dozen cookies.

Then I didn’t bother reading the instructions, because you always add the sugar you dust on right before cooking.

Only, no matter how often I dusted powdered sugar over the top of the cookies, it just absorbed into the cookies. Finally, I read the instructions and discovered:

“Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar.”

Okay, new plan, I baked the cookies and finally got that nice powdered sugar covered cookie I’d been trying for.

This round of cookies I made for the pictures, and so we could add another snack for our Emma movie night (where we watched Clueless).

And, that’s it. That’s our Christmas in Russia.

Random things that I felt like highlighting because my brain is fried


2 responses to “Christmas in Russia”

  1. Interesting! I have never seen these cookies in Russia 🙂 Granted, my Jewish grandma was usually in charge of New Year’s Eve desserts (New Year’s Eve in the Soviet Union was celebrated pretty much like Christmas here, minus, of course, church services.) During my time growing up, it was always Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) who were bringing gifts. But you are right about lots of snow – at least in the parts that would include my native Minsk and Moscow.

  2. I think Russia is a big country, and you get different foods in different parts of the country. Just like how here in California we eat a super different diet from what you would find in, say, Georgia.

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