Happy Intergalactic Holidays from the USSR

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While perusing the museum catalog searching for holiday inspiration, I stumbled upon a beautiful set of Christmas ornaments from the former Soviet Union. But, because open religious practice was often frowned upon, I suppose they aren’t technically Christmas ornaments; holiday decorations sanctioned by the USSR remained secular. Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code was put into effect on February 25th, 1927, and it stated that having a Christmas Tree would make the owner sympathetic with capitalism. However, Christmas decorations and ornaments were still in production under a nationalist guise.

These precious hand-painted glass ornaments feature stars with the unmistakable hammer and sickle, cheery little cosmonauts, and what appears to be some sort of spacecraft labeled “CCCP.” Perhaps analogous with the Soviet Space Program’s intergalactic ballistic missile in 1957 or the launch of Sputnik I, these tree decorations show the cultural support and excitement for space exploration.

I admired the shiny decorations all neatly packaged in their archival styrofoam homes, but I also imagined them hanging on the bows of sparse Christmas trees in Soviet homes, in situ. To see for myself, I decked out a tiny Christmas tree with the delicate artifacts, carefully adhering them to the wee branches. The result, as you can see, is a charmingly dwarfed replica of what might have been a Soviet-era Christmas tree. Now it just needs some presents beneath. Wrap up that Stalin action figure with a big red bow and leave out some cookies and milk for Ded Moroz!

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