Russian Tidbit-More of New Year’s Presents in Soviet Times

December 5, 2012

The TV show "The Eighties" The subtitle of which is "How well we lived badly"

The TV show “The Eighties” The subtitle of which is “How well we lived badly”

Reminiscing about Soviet times has kind of become hip now in Russia, maybe because they feel safely removed enough from it now.  One popular TV show is called “Восьмидесятые” “The Eighties” and is kind of a fond and humorous look back to how people lived in those times.  You can watch a clip of it with English subtitles here.  Anyway, it wasn’t hard to find some nostalgic information about New Years in Soviet times on the web.

So I found more information on yesterday’s topic about what kinds of presents people gave in Soviet times.  As my friend pointed out to me in his email, the presents you were able to obtain depended on your connections.  Most things were accessible in Moscow, so if you had relatives in Moscow that was the key to getting good presents.  Otherwise you had to pull a few strings here and there to get something decent for your child.

This article explains:

“Сейчас проблема – выбрать из необыкновенного многообразия, а тогда было проблемой выбрать из ничего. Советская женщина, как известно, могла сделать из ничего салатик, прическу и трагедию, а еще подарок.”

“Nowadays the problem is choosing from great diversity of gifts, but then the problem was choosing a gift from nothing. The Soviet woman, as is well-known, could make out of nothing a little salad, a hairdo and a tragedy and also a present.” (A tragedy?)

Soviet perfume “Natasha””Часто дарили советские духи, которых в магазинах было в избытке. Мужчинам – одеколоны. Дарить какие-нибудь запонки и галстуки производства СССР было для многих моветоном, ибо не подарочными они были, совсем не подарочными.”

“They often gave Soviet colognes/perfumes, which were in stores in abundance. They gave men colognes.  To give ties or cufflinks from a Soviet factory would have been considered bad manners because they were by no means of gift-quality.”

“За неимением нормальных подарков, идя в гости, несли с собой деликатесы, какие удавалось урвать: банки с консервированными экзотическими фруктами, черную или красную икру, шикарные конфеты.”

“Because nobody had decent presents, going to visit you would bring delicacies that you managed to get somewhere: jars of preserves of exotic fruits, black or red caviar, fancy candies”

sssr007“Детские подарки, которые приносили родители с работы (профком стабильно обеспечивал подарками – по одному на каждое чадо до 14 лет), были в принципе неплохими, но некоторые компоненты его наполнения удивили бы современных детей.”

“The children’s presents, that parents brought home from work(the labor union stably ensured one present for every child up to 14 years) were, in principle, not bad.  But some of the components of their insides would surprise modern children.”

“Например, яблоки в новогоднем вкусном подарке – это, согласитесь, совсем не актуально в наши дни. То же относится и к грецким орехам в скорлупе и дешевым карамелькам. А нам было в радость!”

“For example, apples in a tasty New Year’s present–is, agree, not even an actual present in our days.  Same thing with walnuts in the shell and cheap little caramels.  But for us it was a joy!”

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