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Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

Only 3 days shy of Christmas Eve, many of us are busy preparing for the festivities, chasing for last presents, baking cookies or making plans for the holidays…yet something is different this year. The ever-present threat of a tiny but unpredictable and dangerous virus has changed everything!

Instead of getting together with the people we love and cherish, it seems like the greatest gift we could give this year is staying home. It may be the most important gift we have ever made…

Yet why do we have such a hard time to decide what is the right thing to do? Besides our family traditions, and the wish to hug our loved ones again, winter is here and with it harsh or just nasty weather and the need for a warm place at the fire. Coming together for shelter and company this time of the year is deeply rooted in our genes. Today is the shortest day of the year when we are not only longing for light but also for the assurance that we would be able to make it over a long and cold winter. Our ancestors knew that they could never make it alone but with a little help of their

friends…yet this year it seems all to be capsized – we might have a chance to make it over the winter, if we keep apart…

Luckily, we all tend to make the best out of every situation and therefore, amongst other things, started to revive traditions. Have you noticed how many more people decorated their places with lights this year? Did you hear that the sale of fresh Christmas trees was the highest and earliest ever?

Many of our traditions and festivities are rooted in pre-Christian times. Our Christmas trees are the evergreen symbol of immortality, the tree of life. In northern Europe people decorated their houses with evergreen fir branches to keep off harmful ghosts and lit abundant candles to symbolize the hope of the return of spring.

Christmas itself is strongly connected with the winter solstice. It represents the return of the light – physically as daylight will be growing again from tomorrow on, and spiritually as the birth of Christ provides the hope that light will conquer darkness.

No wonder communities organize the marking of “Santa’s runway” with hundreds of lights in the streets as well as the ringing of Christmas bells at 6 o’clock on Christmas eve, physically distanced but all together in front of their doorsteps. As if we all want to show the world, there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel…

So, deck the halls and unless you are living alone, please stay home this Christmas! We all are so desperately longing to hug our friends, grandkids, parents again – and this is the best way to ensure this will happen again soon…

From the bottom of my heart, wishing you all a safe and joyful Christmas! I truly believe, that the New Year will gradually bring improvement and relief. With the vaccine on the horizon, we hopefully will move into a new normal, however each of us defines it.

May this next year be a healthy and happy one for all of you!!!

Daniela Wachter

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