The Journey to Christmas Festival will take place at 33 sites in central and other parts of Moscow from 16 December to 15 January. Visitors will enjoy an exhibition of designer Christmas trees, birthday cake baked using Karlsson’s recipe, a European Christmas fair and a Christmas drink made in a copper tank. Children will be offered master classes in New Year cartoon making and also in drawing Christmas decorations with 3D pens. The venues will be decorated with Christmas trees, and their entrances with be set up as illuminated arches with navigation maps.
Christmas (fir) tree exhibition
A magical village with a Christmas tree exhibition will be put up in Kuznetsky Most street. The trees will don decorations that festival-goers will be able to make themselves following free master classes. The decorations will be kept in a magic box and taken out on 24 December for people to decorate the trees together.
Each fir tree will be decorated in its own theme. The “culinary” fir tree will be covered with lollipops and other sweets, the “computer” fir tree will be wearing decorations made of microchips, and the fir tree of the future will be dressed in ornaments made by a 3D printer. Other decorations will include soft and wooden toys, and Christmas angels.
Raspberry jam from Hedgehog in the Fog and Matroskin the Cat’s open sandwich
Master classes in cooking fairy-tale food will be held in Kamergersky Pereulok. The instructors will uncover the mystery of Karlsson’s birthday cherry cake with cream from the cartoon based on Astrid Lindgren’s novel. Visitors will have the chance to make and then eat the raspberry jam from the Hedgehog in the Fog cartoon, rice pudding from the Brothers Grimm’s The Magic Porridge Pot, pies and berry starch drink (kisel) from the Russian Geese Swans story and also taste Matroskin the Cat’s open sandwich. The cooking sessions will also involve background information about the fairy-tale dishes and their special cooks.
Traditional Christmas food and unusual treats from Europe, South America and Africa will also be on offer in Kamergersky Pereulok. Talks are under way with the Greek, Italian, Latvian, Mexican, Peruvian, Serbian and Belgian embassies. The menu will feature a Greek salad with olive oil, and a moussaka with marrow and mushrooms. The Mexican treat will be a burrito with beans and avocado, and Belgians will bring chocolate and waffles. Visitors will be able to attend master classes and learn to cook the dishes they liked the most.
Grilled sausages, Czech pastries and winter fun alley
Tverskaya Square will recreate the atmosphere of a European Christmas fair with presents and goods from various countries on sale. Warm pavilions will be selling hot grilled sausages and the traditional Czech trdelnik (rolls with various fillings – mos.ru). For those who want to warm up, there will be a Christmas drink made in a copper tank based on old European recipes. It will be served in red Christmas cups. A real 8-metre-tall Christmas tree will dominate the venue, with a round-about next to it. The festival will also include themed days devoted to Finland, the Czech Republic, France and Latvia. Cooking master classes will be regularly organised in making Christmas cupcakes and biscuits based on French, German, Austrian, Czech and Latvian recipes.
Tverskoy Boulevard will be transformed into an alley of winter fun with curling, hockey and snowball throwing games. Children will be able to learn how to snowboard at a specially equipped ground. Kids can also make sparkly New Year cards using paints, star dust and sparkles near the monument to Sergei Yesenin. They will also learn about tea masters and the tradition of tea ceremonies in various countries. Interactive games using virtual reality glasses will be organised near the monument to Timiryazev, and a small domed cinema will be set up to show science films.
Soviet New Year cards and street libraries
The Christmas book market and two libraries will open in Novy Arbat Street, offering visitors the opportunity to have a cup of tea or coffee and leaf through or buy a book or two. They will also be able to meet authors at literary evenings in the libraries and attend an exhibition of Soviet New Year cards, photographs and shots from favourite Soviet films that will contribute to the Christmas atmosphere.
Tea and hot lemonade with herbs, honey and cinnamon will be available at the fair in Stoleshnikov Pereulok along with original drinks based on juice and milk. Coffee connoisseurs will enjoy coffee with spices made from recipes of the best Moscow and European baristas.
3D-toys and a Christmas tree robot party
Animation master classes will be held in Pushkin Square for children to make their own New Year cartoons or Christmas decorations with 3D pens, and draw Father Christmas (Ded Moroz) and his granddaughter Snegurochka in Photoshop.
The Novopushkinsky public garden will host a Christmas tree robot party. Children will be able to create their own Christmas tree with LED lights, make garlands and torches. Dancing robots and actors, as well as meetings with inventors and assembly workshops, will also be on the entertainment programme at this venue.
Musical forest, ice arena, free skating rink and riding hills
Another exciting site will be the Musical Forest in Pushkin Square – a unique dynamically lit installation with Christmas and New Year melodies playing in the background. Each mini-show will last 8-10 minutes. Thrill seekers will enjoy a ride down a huge 7-metre-tall ice hill, 100 metres long, between Manezhnaya and Revolution squares. An ice arena with free ice skating sessions will be open daily in Revolution Square. The arena will also host ice ballet shows such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cipollino (Little Onion) and Snow White, starring 50 figure skating celebrities. On 7 January, Christmas skating sessions will be organised here with figure skaters of the Russian national team (together with the Figure Skating Federation of Russia). Olympic champions and winners of international competitions will hold training master classes.
Happy Time quest and Christmas Light festival
The Happy Time quest will take place at 17 city sites. Festival-goers will be able to test their knowledge of New Year and Christmas traditions. Participants in venue events, master classes, and those answering the quest questions will be rewarded with gold coins, and the most active ones will get a prize.
Journey to Christmas will coincide with another festival, Christmas Light, that will last until 19 February. It will involve over 400 giant glowing installations, including huge light balls on Poklonnaya Gora and at VDNKh.
This will be the fourth Journey to Christmas festival in Moscow, which is expected to attract 12 million visitors.