Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Happy Holidays!

credit: Flickr by skpy

So today is the first night of Hanukkah (and a few days before Christmas). I got out our ever-growing collection of dreidels. Wrapped the Hanukkah presents and put them under our Christmas tree. (Yes, our family is that shamelessly interfaith). Put the menorah in a prominent place, candles by its side, ready to be lit. Waiting now for my son and husband to come back home from Karate and work to celebrate.

And — after all the wrapping and the running around — for a moment there I suddenly find my excitement waning.

This year I think I am a little more impatient with the holidays than usual. Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year, all of them. They feel like too much of a chore — last-minute shopping, all the crazy cooking, etc.

Holidays pull me away from my writing, when all I want to do is fly ahead into my current project — fly, fly, fly! And then write the next story! And then that other one that has been waiting its turn for years now!

But then I look down under the sturdy floor underneath my feet and remind myself that sometimes it’s okay to fold your wings and breathe in that smell of cooking. Holidays are there for a reason. I remind myself that work — even if it’s beautiful, magical, dream-work — can take you only so far.

Writers like Isaac Asimov and Jane Yolen famously contended that if they knew they had only minutes to live they would just write faster. Me? When I take a moment to consider it, I realize that if these were my last moments on earth, I’d let those untold stories go. I’d gather around with my kids and husband, just sit with them on the floor of our living room maybe, and just hold them, all quiet and breathing with my family.

Well, thankfully — hopefully — my dying moment is far enough away. Far enough, I hope, that I’ll get to write down those poor stories that are waiting their turn. But holidays are — or can be — the times to pull away, as though the world is about to stop turning.

Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Kwanzaa, Yule, each holiday has its own reason, its own truth, its own story. And yet sometimes I think we are all celebrating the same thing here. We are celebrating love, and life, and warmth despite the cold outside, and the lights flickering in the darkness.

Happy holidays, everyone!


December 20, 2011 - Posted by | Personal Mirror | , , ,


  1. Katia, I love that image of you folding your wings. Of sitting with family and holding and breathing.

    You are such a quality person! Lovely post. Thank you!

    Comment by Joyce Moyer Hostetter | December 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank YOU, Joyce, for still being there, and reading these posts, and for always, always getting it. It means more to me than you probably realize 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. Lights flickering in the darkness says so much. What an inspiring post, Katia! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. I know several families that celebrate both.

    Holidays often do feel like chores, especially (I’m sorry to say) to women. We seem to be the ones who are expected to do it all — send the holiday cards, bake the special goodies, do the shopping and the wrapping, and the decorating. We all need to take time out from the frenzy for ourselves and for our families.

    When I almost died in 2005, it wasn’t the unwritten stories I regretted, but the unsaid words to my husband and sons. Now I tell them I love them every chance I get.

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | December 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Wow, Joanne, thank you for sharing. I had no idea that this was so real to you at a certain point. As far as holiday prep goes, a woman, I am sure I do less than some others, but it still feels like too much sometimes. Then of course, the actual Hanukkah night comes and I can’t help but love it! Tonight was magical. Thanks again, Joanne. Your comment really touched me.

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. Happy holidays to you, Katia! Lovely post. I hope you enjoy every moment, even the quiet minutes in between. It’s okay to give your fingers a break 🙂

    Comment by Patti Brown | December 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you, P! And you, too! Enjoy your family and try to get in some well-deserved rest this holiday season 😉

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. Happy Holidays, Katia! Keep celebrating love!

    Comment by Clara Gillow Clark | December 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Yay, Clara!!! Happy holidays (Merry Christmas, right? :))

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  5. Sometimes I beat myself up for not meeting writing goals, but then I take into account all the wonderful things and wonderful people I’ve experienced when I “should have” been writing. I can’t let life slip away from me just because I have all these ideas in my head.

    Happy holidays, Katia!

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | December 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Lol, Medeia. Nicely said. Enjoy the holidays!

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  6. Katia, thanks for reminding us that it’s more than okay to let go of writing sometimes – in fact sometimes, it’s the right thing to do.

    Comment by Sarah Pearson | December 21, 2011 | Reply

    • I have to remind myself too, Sarah! 😉

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  7. Very wise words. I know what you mean about the grind of the holidays. I have two kids with January birthdays, so Thanksgiving through February feels like one long holiday. By the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, I have nothing left to give – LOL!

    But cooking, slowing down, taking time to just breathe, is just as important as all the business. It’s even okay to let go of the writing for a while. It’ll be there come 2012. 🙂

    Comment by Julie Hedlund | December 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Oh boy will it be there in 2012, and hopefully a lot of it… my fingers are already itching in anticipation of all the furious typing, all the happy scribling the new year shall bring … In the meantime time to close the computer and fry up those latkes! (Try to) enjoy your holidays, Julie, and happy writing in 2012!

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 22, 2011 | Reply

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