My thoughts about Christmas this year are all over the place. My mother passed away in October, and so of course, it's going to be a difficult time for us and for everyone else who has lost someone during the year and for whom Christmas has some kind of meaning.
My mother loved people and loved socializing. You couldn't really impress her with a huge gift of any kind but a visit and a photograph of her grandchildren filled her with gratitude. Her greatest joy was feeding people so if you were at your wits' end, a leg of lamb would also come in handy as a present.
So this year, I wish truckloads of tolerance for all. Allow me to wish you a Merry Christmas even if you don't like Christmas. ‘Happy holidays’ just rings quite hollow, and many people only have a couple of days' leave to catch their breaths before heading back to work in the dead of winter. After all, it doesn't offend me if you wish someone 'Happy Hanukkah' or if you're off to Mecca for your pilgrimage of a lifetime. I don't care if you believe in evolution or if you think it's impossible that the world began with divine intervention. I'm a fence-sitter on this one myself because it all has to have started somewhere, right? Allow me to be a fence-sitter without blasting me out of the water.
This brings me to the next point that people have been making over the past tumultuous year: what with Brexit, Trump, Syria, IS and all kinds of political upheaval? People with strong views, who are against discrimination of all kind, who fight for gender and race equality, who support everyone with gender issues, who constantly bemoan what we're doing to the environment are often people who show least tolerance to people who, let's say, believe in evolution or who aren't as sexually, and otherwise, liberated. Let's all show a lot of tolerance for everyone, even if you're on the 'right' side of the spectrum, especially if you're on the more liberal side. You're in a good position to show the religious (and other) extremists how it's done. And, my goodness, take a little time to think before you start bashing people on the internet, just because you're 'faceless'. Enough with the hate and maliciousness too, it's enough to say that one doesn't agree with Trump but death wishes and hate speak, no it's all too much.
Let's get together, eat and be merry, and speak our minds in a civil fashion, my mother would have loved that. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year, or if you prefer, Happy Holidays!
Olivia de Vos
After a transcontinental move left her at odds – and tour guiding, pottery, welding, bricklaying, car maintenance and woodwork were left by the wayside – Olivia rediscovered her passion for writing. She is now chasing adventure in real life and fiction, enjoying the great outdoors whenever she can.
For more expat adventures by Olivia de Vos, visit her website: http://oliviadevos.wordpress.com.