Here at the Classical Girl household, it’s been a spiritual month. We celebrated my husband’s Jewish heritage with a menorah and latkes during Hanukkah. I took my annual Winter Solstice retreat at the Ben Lomond Quaker Center last week (redwoods, silence, space, contemplation = heaven), and now it’s time to celebrate my Catholic heritage with Christmas and its sister holiday, Christmas Eve day, which, as I get older, becomes more and more precious, filled with enjoyment, good cheer, a brimming sense of happiness in having given, and the sweet anticipation of the buzz generated in a crowded Catholic church that evening. And, post-Mass, Christmas Eve at home with the family, fire in the fireplace, candles twinkling, a glass of wine, Christmas tree lights and ornaments glowing – aah. Followed by Christmas Day. Where magic meets spirituality in a delicious, undefinable way that has little to do with the presents you receive.
The season’s holidays, of course, expand well beyond what I myself celebrate. In November, there was Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, and Mawlid al-Nabi, the Islamic celebration of the birth of the prophet, Muhammed. There’s Kwanzaa, starting the day after Christmas. And January 7th, the 12th day of Christmas, marks the day Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas. I’m a rebel Catholic girl. I say there’s room for all flavors of religion and/or spirituality. They all share this: beyond each religious holiday’s story, there is a giving of yourself involved, which activates a spirit of goodwill, which allows you to observe the divine coursing through everything, everyone. (Granted, during extended-family holiday gatherings, one might observe discord coursing through everyone, but let’s overlook that for now, shall we?) One other thing I’m going to hazard a guess that all the holidays have in common: eating lots of good food. Probably too much. Ah well, t’is the season.
Back to those “3 gifts” I dangled in the subject line. Classical Girl Press, my sister business, would like to extend three gifts in this season of giving. For the next five days, enjoy the Ballet Theatre Chronicles–Off Balance and Outside the Limelight for FREE. A Dancer’s Guide to Africa has been reduced to 99 cents through the 27th, and will be FREE on December 28th.
Have a wonderful holiday week, however you choose to celebrate (or not). I am well aware of how hard holidays can be for some people, for varying reasons, something to just “get through.” Been there. I say, no better way to escape it than with a good book. Getting a Kindle for Christmas? Perfect timing! Don’t have a Kindle or any other reader, but want to enjoy these freebies on an old-fashioned desktop? (That’s me, actually.) Click HERE (if you have a Mac) and HERE (for a PC) to obtain and download a free app that turns your computer or laptop into a Kindle device.