Christmas time tends to be a noisy period during the year. The moment December starts people count down, plan and check their budgets again because the year will end. It matters to give it meaning, most people try to find meaning whether they like it or not. I do not like Christmas and my friends know it. Even so I will wish them happy holidays and meet up if possible.
Some of my best friends only have time during the last two weeks of the year, not much you can do about that. For me Christmas is about good company. Money, gifts and decorations do not make up for feeling welcome among the people you know and love. A drink, a good meal and stories can turn a bad year into a good year in a matter of minutes. Think about that, a year is a lot of time for a human.
This Christmas I gave myself two options. I could either have fun with my friends or sleep through it. Seriously, sleeping is a good option. Well I inquired and there was a silly get together with drinks and games. It was fun to relax and catch up again. After that I felt like walking around a bit and going home again. Amsterdam was not as busy as usual. The streets were quite empty for a city that is usually too crowded for its own good. Taking pictures was rather easy for a change.
One thing I saw stood out. At Beursplein near Beurs van Berlage there was a (probably) homeless guy on the stairs under the gates. I passed by while walking to the train station. It reminded me of my own choice at the start of December. Thing is, the homeless in the Netherlands do not always have a choice. Without money for a shelter or sometimes by choice they have no roof over their head. During the Christmas months there tend to be more beggars and for a reason.
Christmas time can be a lonely time for some people. Especially for those who are poor and/or homeless good company can be hard to find.
In the noise, the lonely tend to be forgotten. Sometimes even in plain sight…