New Year (Новый год) is a very important, family holiday for us (Russian Christmas is celebrated on Jan, 7th)
Usually people don't work from 1 to 10th January.
Usually whole family gathers on Dec, 31. They watch guess what movie and prepare lots of food (that you will taste on Monday!). At 11.50 pm there is a speech of president on TV (you can watch it on youtube, Putin and Medvedev speak VERY clear, of course you'll not understand the whole speech, but you'll be able to hear words you know). Then they play Russian anthem.
Then at 11.59 Kremlin Clock Tower (kuranti) start beating 12 times, you have one minute to make a wish and then after final beat everyone starts to clink glasses with champagne (it's a traditional drink for New Years celebration - trademark "Sovetskoe shampanskoe" - Soviet Champagne).
Everyone congratulates each other saying "С новым годом" (literally With New Year) or "С новым счастьем" (with new happyness).
Traditional fruit for this celebration is a tangerine, New Years always associates with smell of tangerines in Russia.
We have our own Santa Claus, his name is Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and he also has an assistant, his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow-maiden). They arrive on Troyka (3 horses).
Kids sing "В лесу родилась ёлочка" and move hanging each other's hands. They usually have parties called "Ёлка" too. Я на Ёлке - means I am at New Years kids party (why на? because it's an event). Each kid gets bag of candies. There are some Yolkas in Kremlin.
С Новым годом и счастливого Рождества!
Happy New year and Happy Christmas!