When you travel to Russia - no matter what time of year it is - you may be shopping for Christmas gifts to be presented to family and friends back home. These presents from Russia will surprise and delight even difficult shoppers on your list, whether the recipient prefers useful items to keep them comfortable on a cold winter day, decorative items for the home, or heirloom-quality conversation pieces.
Better-quality gifts are made of sturdier materials, show greater artistry, and often command higher price tags. While you can still stick to a budget and find gifts from Russia that are beautiful an interesting, careful shopping is encouraged for the best value. If you are unsure, take a trusted friend with you to examine the gifts you plan to buy while shopping in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or another Russian city.
Nesting dolls, or matryoshka dolls, are favorite souvenirs from Russia and make great gifts for all ages and both genders. Nesting dolls can be elaborately decorated, represent cartoon characters or celebrities, or even carry a Christmas theme. Large nesting dolls with many small dolls inside are more expensive than those that contain only a few dolls.
Russian hats are practical gifts that can also be given to all ages. Made for men and women, children and adults, these hats are luxurious presents that will be easy to pack in your suitcase. With or without ear flaps, Russian hats are often made with or trimmed with real fur, so shop carefully if this is a consideration for you or the recipient of the gift.
Russian vodka makes an excellent gift and can be purchased at reasonable prices in Russia. It's also easy to find at grocery stores, hypermarkets, and liquor stores. Be sure to read up on how to pack glass bottles in your luggage so you will get your vodka home without breakage.
Finely painted lacquer boxes, which depict scenes from fairy tales, historic episodes, or landscapes, are special gifts from Russia that will make the recipient's Christmas special. Lacquer boxes are decorated with a labor-intensive process that employs the skill of painters trained to work in minute detail.
Tea is an important part of Russian culture, and the Russian tea service can include samovars and podstakanniks - two items completely foreign to Western tea services. Lomonosov makes fine porcelain in well-established Russian patterns, and a teapot or cup-and-saucer set make impressive, usable Christmas gifts for the tea lover in your life.
Valenki, Russian woolen boots, make a surprising and practical gift if you are familiar with the intended wearer's approximate size. Whether used as slippers or for tromping around in the snow, these boots are stylishly Russian.