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Merry Christmas, dear NextPit community. These are difficult days.

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© NextPit / Shutterstock: Ilona Titova

Today is Christmas. Almost everywhere throughout the country, most homes should be in the final furlong of preparations for an evening of feasting and celebration. Tables are set and decorated, the Christmas tree is up and lighted, accompanied by amazing decorations. There is the smell of good food, cookies, and hot chocolate. Although it's freezing cold outside, it's cozy and warm inside. However, it begs the question: Is this really happening almost everywhere?

I was just reading through last year's Christmas article in preparation for this one. A year ago, I bemoaned the divisiveness of our societies, especially in the context of social media and the pandemic. We have unlearned the essence of "we", instead the "I" very often rules. Actually, from my point of view, last year's article has lost none of its relevance. When I think about Twitter, its new owner, and its peculiarities for just a second, any Christmas magic in me evaporates. However, this year is supposed to be about something different.

2022 - A completely new situation for all of us.

I recently got hold of an old magazine from December 2019 while cleaning up. At that time, NextPit was just very fresh, and I was somehow still struggling quite a bit with the insolvency of AndroidPIT in a rather personal manner. Then, being in the magazine store at the time, the cover of Der Spiegel magazine caught my eye. It was the final issue of the year and also the last issue of the decade. The cover featured a burlesque woman, there was gold and lots of other objects that were supposed to exude luxury, an upbeat mood, and positivity.

"The new 20s," Spiegel headlined, asking, "How golden will the coming decade be?" I remember how much I actually longed for good news back then. The insolvency had just been completed, and of the remaining colleagues, one person after the other was quitting every month. Somehow I was longing for a golden decade, some stability, and peace of mind.

Everything turned out differently and unfortunately, it was far from golden. I remember it as though it was yesterday. On a late Sunday evening in the cab on the way here to our NextPit office to watch the Superbowl with friends and colleagues, I heard for the very first time in February 2020 that the ominous virus from China could probably also make its way here to Europe. The rest is history: millions of people dead, many people living with permanent damage from long Covid, lockdowns, disrupted supply chains, divided societies, the list goes on....

How could things get any worse? That's easy, what if a commander decided to start a war in Europe and make the already difficult situation much worse for many?

Christmas: The festival of love! Unfortunately, not this year.

The pandemic in Europe is at least on the wane, but it will not make this a golden era. The pandemic was replaced by energy shortages, high inflation, fear of further escalation, blackouts, and cold homes.

The "we" comes to mind again. Shortly after the war broke out, I was at Berlin's main train station. Thousands of Ukrainian women, often with children, arrived. Most of them had no more than two or three bags, the children clipping a teddy bear under their arms. The looks in their eyes were depressing for me: Of course, there was also some relief that they were now safe. But you could also see the worries and the uncertainty on their faces.

To see these many people like this - driven out of their homes, without knowing how those who stayed behind are doing, without perhaps even knowing whether one can ever see them again or whether the village in which one has spent one's whole life before is still standing.

The war also directly affected us here in Central Europe. Russia virtually stopped its gas supplies to us altogether and wanted to pressure us. In many places, that worked out well. It is certainly a minority, but nevertheless: How often have I heard that it is not our war and therefore one does not want to freeze, or that the locations Germany, France, and Europe in general are in danger?

Who would like to freeze? As I write these lines, it is -7 degrees outside—and 21 degrees inside. Sure, prices for gas and electricity have skyrocketed like so many other things. This affected a lot of people in our country. They need to be helped, and urgently! It's not that my family and I are unaffected or burdened by it. But you can do a few things yourself so that the prices don't hit you with full force: Changing the thermostats in our home to smart controllers has led to a reduction in energy consumption of over 30% for us.

Yet at the same time, not far from here, a war is raging in which people have had their lives, their loved ones, the roofs over their heads, their jobs, and their prospects cruelly taken away.

But what these people have not lost is their courage, their hope, and their sense of cohesion.

I don't want to say now that we can copy these qualities. That would be dangerously presumptuous. However, I think we should still keep in mind that, despite all the problems, we are much better off than probably millions of Ukrainians are right now.

The entire NextPit team wishes you and your families a Merry Christmas, good luck, and health, and for all of us soon: peace! It doesn't have to be a golden decade, but a little peace and contentment would be a nice start.

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