Merry Christmas 2023 from the Ashampoo Blog team!
At the end of October, I became very ill. It was the kind of sickness that causes sleepless nights and makes you hesitant to commit to any long-term subscriptions. Since I had to go to a specialized clinic, I was 200 km away from friends and family, and I struggled immensely with this new situation. Even my usually indestructible sense of humor failed me, and I spent days and nights brooding darkly. However, at one point, Spotify unexpectedly played a special song that changed everything – and it was partly due to Christmas.
Around midnight I was lying in a Hamburg clinic, utterly miserable, with rain lashing against the windows and the distant lights of the harbor twinkling. My roommate Wilfried, a splendid fellow, was snoring peacefully, probably dreaming of his huge vegetable garden and his wife’s cooking skills. The night shift was bustling in the hallway (sounding like they were bowling with empty metal canisters), so I grabbed my headphones and played a Spotify playlist. 2½ hours of calm music in the Simon & Garfunkel tradition, food for the soul. When the playlist ended, the Spotify algorithm selected a song it believed matched what I had been listening to, and it was both wrong and yet so right. Instead of another piece with acoustic guitar and soft vocals, “Immanuel” by Tony Anderson, a Christmas song, started playing.
Initially, I wanted to skip the song (I was in the mood for everything but Christmas!), but then I let it play. Nearly 15 introspective minutes, artfully interweaving two classic Christmas carols (“Carol of the Bells” and “Veni, veni, Emmanuel”), did not fit my mood at all but deeply moved me. Amid all the examinations and blood tests, pain, and unpalatable food, I had gradually lost hope and goals. But “Immanuel” brought me a hint of Christmas, a distant vision. It was a promise of everything I love about it; Christmas markets, celebrating with friends, and the holidays with family. While my recently operated stomach was growling, I thought of lavish Christmas meals, and the stark hospital room faded in my imagination behind decorated Christmas trees and colorful lights. I wanted to experience that, I would endure and do everything necessary for it.
And as if my fate had received a wake-up call, not everything turned out fine, but many things improved. The endless days in the clinic seemed more bearable and shorter, internal and external wounds slowly healed, and eventually, I was able to go home. Of course, not everything happened as quickly as I wanted, but life came back, step by step. I could walk in the park again, gradually returned to work, and then (point 1 on my list!) attended the Ashampoo Christmas party. I hadn't seen many dear people for months, the joy of reunion was immense, and we laughed and chatted until my voice was hoarse. I also visited a Christmas market (point 2), and a Christmas concert (point 3) will follow before the final rush towards the holidays.
And so, a year that I will never forget is coming to an end. I'm still sitting at work, looking down into the richly decorated lobby, watching colleagues bustle through the corridors. Soon, silence will reign here, the lights will go out, and Ashampoo will take a short, well-deserved break. I wish you a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and a wonderful 2024! Don't get upset over trivial matters that aren't worth it, and appreciate what you have, it can be gone so fast. Wherever you may be reading these lines, have a great time, hug a few dear people who deserve it, and most importantly, stay healthy!