Ukrainian Christmas will be a little bit different this year, admits Khrystyna Vasylkiz.

"I think the main wish for all Ukrainians this year is having a safe Christmas without missiles and without explosions," said Vasylkiz, a Ukrainian woman who lives in Estevan. "All the Ukrainians who aren't home right now, I'm sure their wish is to celebrate Christmas at home with their family where everyone is happy and healthy."

Ukraine celebrates Christmas every year on Jan. 7, according to the Julian calendar. It will be the country's first Christmas celebration since Russia's invasion in February 2022.

"We are hoping to celebrate next Christmas under free skies as an independent country," said Vasylkiz.

Vasylkiz said her country's celebrations resemble traditional Christmas festivities, with lots of food and family gatherings.

"The main thing is to get the family together and have a good time," she said. "Enjoy a good visit with your relatives, family and friends. On Christmas Eve, we usually have 12 (food) dishes."

She added that Ukraine is considering joining Western countries later this year to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, according to the Gregorian calendar. She said this is because Russia also celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7, and this move would allow Ukraine to further separate themselves from Russia.

"There's been talks, but nothing official yet. Things may change next year," she said.