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December 2010 - Nr. 12
Merry Christmas and the best of Seasons from Echo Germanica
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

The last month flew by like a week. There are just a couple of weeks to Christmas. Of the numerous invitations and offerings for the festive season we can only partake in a few, which we will share with you in this issue.

Since it is the Christmas season a lot of folks have a wish list and so do I. There is a lot of talk about ethical gifting, a concept that is born out of the need to help others instead of adding more “stuff” to one’s own life.

Yes, there are angelsI think it is a marvellous idea, for instance, to pay for a goat in a 3rd world country that can support a whole family with basic survival or buy a piece of Canada to preserve the Boreal Forrest, or pay for someone’s membership in any charitable organization that protects the environment for all our benefit in the future.

Predictions for much less than usual contributions to our charitable organizations have galvanized the media to make it known that such gifts are vey needed.

Let’s face it, most of us, at least the people I have closest contact with in our community are well enough to do and have everything they need. And if there has to be something replaced in the household we do not wait for Christmas, like we used to do in the good old days, we get it when we need it. Thus gifts are usually a bit of a luxury, something not really needed for survival, or our daily lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not treat ourselves. Surely we deserve a bit of extra comfort when we worked so hard all year round in the face of a faltering economy. But any surplus could go to a truly good cause that creates future, or a gesture close to home that could smoothen out a difficult situation that we are aware of.

I however have yet another wish list, one that deals with our daily lives and the little annoyances it. Some human behaviour has changed so drastically, and not for the better, that mention needs to be made, and I am sure many of you feel the same way.

  •  I wish I did not have to listen to people’s phone conversions wherever I go. Example: I sit in a small 6 table café for a nice and quiet lunch in my neighbourhood, wanting to enjoy a book I just picked up and the other 5 tables, one after the other, receive phone calls and everyone starts chattering merrily away, so it now sounds like I am sitting in a Central Station cafeteria. The supermarket, the bus and the streets, even inside banks and entertainment venues, are all places where we are being inundated with conversations not meant for us but are forced to overhear.
  • The use of cell phones while driving cars is another point I wish to have abolished. It is against the law to drive and not use a hands free device, yet everywhere I look it is being disregarded. The lack of attention on driving is causing accidents, often serious.
  • I wish the sales personnel in stores do not talk to each other as though we are not there, while you/I am conduction business with them. It astounds me to no end that managers are not aware of this rudeness, or don’t they care?
  • I wish people would not get pets that they then do not take care of, leaving it up to a caring neighbor to see to it that the animal has shelter from heat, wet or cold and sustenance over the duration of a long day.
  • I wish institutions would not decide for the public whether or not there should be a Christmas tree or not. The overwhelming majority of Canadian and American people, about 80%, have no objections to Christmas and a little bit of seasonal cheer. In a democracy majority rules. Besides, no one is objecting to the displays of other holiday expressions.

I wish…Oh, the list could be quite long, but it is not even worth discussing. Instead I wish all of our readers, clients and friends a very Happy Christmas and for everyone to get well into the next year.

Until next time, just after New Years,

I remain yours truly

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.

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