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1001 Stories Collection

Baboushka’s Christmas

1001 babushkaschristmas
Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Russian folktale

Russia Folk and fairy tales
1001 , Audio

A Christmas story which has kindness and generosity at its heart.


An old woman called Baboushka (which means ‘grandmother’ in Russian) lives alone in the snowy countryside. One day she is visited by three wise men dressed in rich clothes and carrying wrapped gifts. They say they are waiting for a star to appear that will lead them to the baby Jesus.

Why we chose it:

The story of Baboushka is still told at Christmas and is a popular primary school Christmas play.

Where it came from:

Where Baboushka’s story came from is unknown, as it was likely passed down generation to generation within Russian families. It was inspired by the Christian story of the Wise Men who followed a star to find the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It became well known in America and Western Europe after the American writer, Edith Matilda Thomas, wrote a poem about Baboushka in 1907.

Where it went next:

Baboushka has become known as a figure who leaves presents for sleeping children at Christmas, a little like Santa Claus. While each version of her story changes small details, such as her response to the Wise Men, the core story remains the same. Most famously it was made into a picture book by Ruth Robbins in “Baboushka and the Three Kings” (1960).

Associated Stories:

Baboushka’s story is very similar to the Italian story of Le Befana, an old woman who is also met by the Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem and is known for leaving gifts for children at Christmas-time. However, unlike Baboushka, Befana leaves naughty children a lump of a coal, and sometimes flies on a broom, giving her the name of ‘the Christmas witch’.

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition Russian folktale

Russia Folk and fairy tales
1001 , Audio