Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
I should say: I studied International Relations. I took a lot away from it, including the understanding of how important it is to consider various perspectives.
I should also say: I grew up in Germany with white Christmas. I loved it, and I still love everything reaching from advent calendars to candles to Christmas cookies.
But I am not only German. In Latin America, Christmas is anything but white. Is it “wrong” then? Is it not “normal”?
It’s different. And seeing posters everywhere advertising mistletoes, sledges and snowmen in a country where there is no snow during Christmas, make me have very mixed feelings about that picture perfect of white Christmas. Why can’t Christmas be more diverse than that?
These posters help spread an idea which is not applicable to all. It sets a standard only some are able to reach. These posters advertising one, and one way only, to celebrate Christmas, convey something of exclusion.
Why are we, in South America, faced with a picture of Christmas we will never reach? Why is Christmas only one way, and cannot include our way of Christmas, too?
Thinking of the historical heritage – it was the Europeans who have brought their faith and traditions into lands that did not belong to them, but which they then claimed their now. The cultural heritage nowadays is very rich, and diverse. But, five hundred years later, we are still faced with one image only of how Christmas is supposed to be. We still try to aspire to something we will never reach.
I want diversity to reach every realm of society – that includes posters, videos, the way we talk and the way we think. We need to understand that exchanging perspectives makes us learn from and grow alongside others. Exchange and mixture is a win-win situation for both sides, not a loss on part of one side.
Diversity this year in relation to gender has made considerable progress and I am happy to observe it. It’ll bring about change – and it’ll shape the environment we live in and other generations will grow up in.
But it is not enough – if we want real change, we need to make space for enlarging our understandings and believes. We need to get away from a fixed mindset towards one of openness and curiosity.
Our environment shapes what we think is possible or not. And truth be told, I no longer want to justify why I chose not to have a white Christmas this year, but a sunny one. I no longer want to explain that the Christmas – mood has nothing to do with how many mulled wines I drink at the Christmas market, it has to do with how I chose to use this Christmas time for reflection, for family and friends. And Christmas cookies I baked regardless of whether there is snow or sun outside my window. They tasted the same, and they taste awesome under a palm tree in the sun.
Text also published on LinkedIn