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Jackie Harding: My special expat version of ‘The Night before Christmas’

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the town
People were wandering whilst wearing a frown
The stores were all shuttered, the restaurants too
The country was locked down, Christmas was screwed.

The nations were wearied, this year had been brutal
The fight against Covid so far had been futile
And Ma washed her hands and I wore my mask
We looked to the universe with something to ask.

Please make the next year one we can all bear
A year that is far from this awful nightmare
One where the US will be run by a person
Where the virus and racism really can’t worsen.

A year where Brexit is a thing of the past
(Okay, I know it won’t happen but thought I would ask)
Where crazy-haired leaders are shipped off to space
O Cosmos, you’ll be thanked by the whole human race.

The planet needs love, we need someone like Greta
To make our world cleaner and for it to feel better
The Paris Accord requires countries to lead
To stop the decline and move at warp speed.

Now Biden! Now Merkle! Now Adern & Macron!
Bye Donald! Bye Pence! We are happy you’re gone!
The world needs good leaders of that we agree
To help us outlive this global economy.

The vaccine is coming and our hopes do soar
Maybe we can travel like we did once before
Vacations to countries that are not our own
Trips to family we don’t have to postpone.

Planes that can fly and ferries can … ferry
Visits to cities where we can be merry
Hotels can open and restaurants serve
Life can be lived with zest and with verve.

Social distancing will be a thing of the past
Remember hugging each other, oh, at long last!
Our grannies and grandpas we can visit again
Smiles will ensue, bring out the champagne.

Stores will reopen, oh to wander and browse
The hairdresser will help me to see my eyebrows
Sports and concerts, with singing and cheering
We will applaud the virus disappearing.

Video chats, that blessed salvation
Remote learning ~ all teachers’ frustration
These things have allowed me to veer from insane
Zoom and Netflix long may you both reign!

Dear universe please let next year be cheery
All the people on earth are feeling quite weary
We need joy, some sparkles and a kitten or two
A unicorn, rainbows and puppies, it’s true.

2020 farewell, I can’t say it’s been fun
People are sad, jobless and have lost loved ones
So good riddance, please get out of our sight
I’m wishing and hoping for a year of delight.

  • The political views expressed here are the author’s only!

About the author:

Photographer/Writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a longtime expat, she’s lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past ten years.

Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.

Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.

She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.

She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.

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