Journey to Christmas, an annual winter festival in Moscow

Victoria Derzhavina | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Every year, from Mid-December to Mid-January, Moscow get a new, wonderful look. It is a time of the annual winter festival “Journey to Christmas”. The theme of the festival and programme change every year. However, there is always a lot of light, music, fairs with food, drinks and souvenirs, cheerful atmosphere and many beautiful Christmas trees.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

More than 400 Christmas trees

Usually, more than 400 Christmas trees are installed in the Russian capital in the middle of December. All the trees are artificial, and only one is always natural. It is the main Christmas tree, which is placed on Sobornaya Square inside the Moscow Kremlin. A special commission chooses a spruce during “the beauty contest”: a tree should be high, thick and straight.

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The magic woods appear on Manezhnaya and Tverskaya Squares. The towers of the Kremlin and  State Historical Museum between the sparkling spruces remind of fairytale castles. Leading Russian couturiers and young designers create the festive attires for the Christmas trees in Kuznetsky Most street.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

Many interesting things for children

During the Journey to Christmas festival, many interesting things are organized for children. Actors of street theatres come to Moscow from different cities and countries. In the streets, children can see puppet shows, ice ballet performances, stilt walkers and acrobatic skits. Their bright and extraordinary costumes attract everyone. A 100-meter long slide near Red Square, winter games and competitions on Tverskoi Boulevard, merry-go-rounds, workshops held in cozy wooden houses for making New Year gifts and cooking cakes, are the amusements that suit any taste.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

How to warm up?

If you feel cold, there are a few ways how to warm up. You can take a glass of mulled wine or traditional Russian sbiten and medovukha and hot pancakes. Alternatively, you can dance or play hockey. Also, there is a 100-meter long ice slide near the Red Square. On the “lawns” among the trees, you can find furnaces and warm your hands.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

To warm up and feel the spirit of festivity you can visit the GUM, a big store near the Red Square, where New Year songs, bright decorations, stalls with souvenirs and sweets, as well as the rows of small Christmas trees create a cheerful mood. Here, you can take a cup of coffee in one of the cafés or take a famous GUM ice-cream, while seating on a bench under the “snow-covered” mount-ash tree in a glass-​roofed gallery.

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During the darkest times of the year, Moscow is lit with many lights: laced arches on the squares, light tunnels along the boulevards, “flute-glass of champagne” along the streets. The culmination of “Journey to Christmas”, an annual winter festival in Moscow, is the celebration of the New Year on the Red Square with Kremlin Chimes and fireworks. It is an unforgettable moment. Just be ready that many people have the same plans. After midnight, the central metro stations are open only for exiting to avoid the crowds, so you have to walk to another station to enter the metro. 

Photo © credits to
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

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