Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

The strangeness of my Christmas

I grew up in a land that refused to believe. And even if I do believe now, it isn’t in Jesus as the son of God. Still, Christmas is my holiday, too. I am not saying that to be in the face of the “Keep Christ in Christmas” movement. That’s just the way it is for me.

To make sure the Soviet children didn’t miss out on Christmas too much, the USSR really upped the importance of New Year. We had the New Year evergreen tree. A million of New Year’s supersitions. There was Father Frost visiting children in day care with sacks full of gifts, there was the pretty Snow Maiden. Lots of parties, kids wearing costumes, chocolate candy in carton boxes, the kind usually not too available throughout the year.

Now, here, an American and a Jew, sure, I can just stick with New Year’s. And I love New Year!!! I am serious about how I spend it and who I spend it with. I am serious about my resolutions. I am serious about staying up – and keeping the kids up to 2 a.m. minimum. Though it’s considered an adult holiday, I like to plan activities and games for them. I guess I really want them to love it, too. I am serious about having some serious fun on that magical night. (Just this year is, like, the first time we decided to give up on gift exchange for New Year’s. I mean, with all the other holidays, there are more than enough presents to go around. See my older post about holiday shopping).  

Still, I do like Christmas. The way it reminds me of playing with the decorations as a kid, before hanging them up on the tree. The way it calls on the people’s nicest side. Every Christmas, I like to give a little something to somebody who maybe really, really needs it. Of course, I could be a good Jew instead, and collect the money in my Tzedakkah box year-round. But this is what happens when you grow up on the other side of the Magic Mirror. It all kind of mixes together, I guess, your faith, your childhood and the miracles you want to take part in.

Of course, the fact that I am married to a boy who grew up with Christmas trees gives me a real excuse to share in this holiday, even if only a little. Tomorrow night, my Jewish stepfather is going to dress up as Santa and my Jewish mom will help out with his makeup. Then he’ll saunter in, surprising our kids every time, saying, “Ho, Ho, Ho”  with that light trace of a Russian accent.

Crazy, I know! 🙂  

But do wish me a Merry Christmas, anyway!!!

The picture on the left: Me with my six-year-old daughter

(that blue light shining in the window comes from our electric menorah) 🙂

The picture on the right: An old greeting card. It says, “Happy New Year!” It’s from around when I was seven years old (1984?)

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December 24, 2009 - Posted by | Personal Mirror, The U.S.S.R.

1 Comment »

  1. Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.

    Comment by TSwain | February 7, 2010 | Reply


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