I remember singing an approximation of this song when I was a kid. I have no idea how I knew it, but I remember dancing round my Nan’s living room to this with my friend Claire. Turns out it is possibly the most well-known Russian folk song, about a man who is dreaming of a girl while sleeping under a pine tree. Why am I using this as a Christmas song? Kalinka translates as snowberry / cranberry / red berry, and this is therefore a popular song around the festive season.
The video here is fascinating slice of history. This performance was part of a concert held in the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow in 1965. There are versions on YouTube with better sound quality, but I love the fact you can actually watch the Red Army Choir on this, and the theatricality of the whole performance. The soloist, Yevgeny Belyaev, is amazing!
Lyrics here: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kalinka