Before the Revolution of 1917, Russian Christmas traditions were not unlike European ceremonies. There were holiday church services as well as gift-giving, caroling and family feasts.
Once the atheist Communist government was in control, all religious holidays were banned. Christmas trees were labeled as a "savage custom."
But in the mid-1930s, policies turned towards traditionalism and focus on the family. Stalin commanded that fir trees - now called New Year trees as opposed to Christmas trees - were on display everywhere from schools to theaters. Factories immediately began producing ornaments for the trees.
Masha Zavialova is the curator at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis. She explains the history of Soviet-era ornaments that graced the New Year trees.