Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

12-23-2013 12:27 PM

Christmas is such a very special time of year!  Christmas is also a rather long and sometimes complex season in my bi-cultural family.  You see, I am an American expat living in Moscow, Russia. My husband is a native Russian and our five-year-old daughter is logically a mix between the two. We work hard to be sure she can embrace both of her cultures, both of her languages and the various sets of Christmas and New Year’s tradition. We spend our holiday time in both Russia where we live and the U.S. where we love to go in late December.

Our Christmas tree goes up before any of her Russian friends New Year’s trees.  In Russia, the big holiday is actually not Christmas on December 25th (which actually is not a holiday but a regular working day but more about that in a minute) but actually New Year’s on December 31st.  This is a tradition which was strong in the Soviet Union.  Russian New Year’s is when Santa Claus brings gifts to children and actually he is not called Santa Claus but Ded Moroz which translates as Father Frost.  And while Santa Claus traditionally wears a red suit, Ded Moroz wears a blue one. And while Santa Claus has Mrs. Claus and the Elves, Ded Moroz has his grand-daughter Snegourochka (Snow Flake Girl) helping him out. 

You can see where it can get confusing keeping all of these characters straight and equally important!  I won’t even get into how I explain why different parts of the world have different “ones” and some children get lucky enough to have two (or more) visit them or whether Santa Claus and Ded Moroz are related.

And you can see how two such important but slightly different traditions can affect the frequency of gift giving.  Then on January 7th which I grew up knowing as Epiphany, our Russian part celebrates as Christmas, but without gifts.  Then Russians celebrate Old New Year (based on changing calendar systems a long time ago) about a week later. By that point we are done with so many holidays and just looking for a date to take down our Christmas tree!  What we do end up with though is a long season of holiday cheer, festive thoughts and actions, a strong attitude of gratitude and lots of reasons to spend time with family and friends!

All of the above is one of the many reasons I am so grateful to be a part of Mary Kay.  As I reflect on how being a part of the Mary Kay company has changed my life for the better, I know for sure that, because of what I have learned and experienced in Mary Kay, I am a better woman, a better person and a better mother than I would have been had I not entered the world of Mary Kay over twenty years ago. 

I sincerely believe that is true about all of us—we are better because of what Mary Kay has taught and shown us.  And we are not only changing the lives of women but of their families and the societies and the countries in which we live.

I truly believe that women all over the world are the same and that they have the same needs and similar desires. And I truly believe that by empowering women in a community that you can improve that community. Mary Kay Ash was a visionary, and she knew this. Her company speaks to the needs and hearts of women, not only in Texas, or the U.S., but also in places where people would never expect to see Mary Kay. We can go to any country in the world and the Mary Kay opportunity would speak to the women there.

I never imagined that when I came to Russia, having just graduated from college , that I would be here twenty-one years later, having married a Russian man and having a daughter who identifies herself as both Russian and American and feels comfortable speaking in both languages. 
Recently I heard my daughter chanting in alternating Russian and English “Mary Kay!  You can do anything!” What great values she is already learning. My six-month move to Moscow so long ago turned into me finding my personal mission in Mary Kay, finding a new place I call “home,” and has allowed me to “paint a beautiful picture of my life as I want it to be!”

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year !!

 

 

Today's blog post is from Tara Eustace. Tara is the President of Mary Kay Europe. Tara is an American who moved to Russia after college. Her goal was to stay a few months, and it has led to being there for more than 20 years.