Well kids, I am happy to report that The Mystery of the Vanishing Christmas has been solved! My investigations took me to the KGB offices in Red Square, where, after questioning tens of bureaucrats, I finally found out that:
Once upon a time, long, long ago, before you were born, before even I was born (no, no, not so long ago that dinosaurs roamed the earth, Neela!) there was a revolution in Russia. What is a revolution? Well, you know how when you are playing with some toys on the school playground and some bully comes along and takes them...? Kind of like that. Ask your mom.
Anyway, soon after some grumpy old men seized power, they sat around thinking, "What can we do now that we are the bosses of everyone?" One of them, Lenny, said, "I know, let us change the name of our country from Russia to a long, grown-up sounding name like the 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!'" All the old guys agreed that this was a great idea, so Russia became known as the USSR for short.
Another grumpy old guy, Joe, the biggest bully of all, feeling left out, and wanting to show them who was the biggest boss, banged his fist on the table and said, "Let's abolish Christmas!" Everybody was a little scared to do such a terrible thing — what would all their kids say? But they were much more scared of old Joe, so they all agreed that nobody would celebrate Christmas any more...
Can you believe that? They banned Christmas!
It wasn't until about seventy years later that another old guy named Mike (who was always smiling) came along, and although he used big, grown-up words like glasnost and perestroika, he was really young at heart, and he said to the KGB (Komrades Gone Bad): "Lighten up, dudes! Give the kids back Christmas."
Because he was a nice guy, Mike succeeded in getting the other grumpy old men to lighten up, and so eleven years ago, in 1992, just before you were born, the Russians began celebrating Christmas again. Yay!
But before you start cheering, check this out: it had been so long since those now not-so-grumpy old guys — whose KGB initials now stood for (Komrades Good Behaving) — had celebrated Christmas that they had forgotten the date, and so instead of celebrating Christmas on December 25th, the now observed it on January 7th!
Those stupid old guys... but more about that story tomorrow...