Christmas was very important to our family, so we continued to celebrate it among ourselves. It's a little bit different to not have other family to celebrate with, but we became very close to each other that far away from our other relatives.
We tried to make Christmas special for each other. One thing that we did each year was draw names to get something special for one person. We kept it a secret. The month before Christmas we were busy doing extra chores to earn money. Sometimes my mom would help us make something for each other. One year my brother made me a Teddy bear. He had sewn it on the sewing machine, turning the crank by hand because he was didn't know how to use the foot pedal.
While I was in college, I couldn't go home to Russia to be with my family for Christmas. One year my friend Maria invited my sister and me to her house in Missouri. We had so much fun meeting all her relatives and singing with them. They made us feel so special. Thank you, Maria, for loving two college girls at Christmas!"
It's so interesting to hear about other cultures!