Three things on our wish list...

However you’re spending the last weeks of 2023, here are three things we’re really wishing for – and resolving to take with us into 2024.

It’s the end of the year and we all know that feeling of being a little overwhelmed by social commitments and the mental load that comes with this season.  

That’s why we’ve made a holiday wish list. Here are three things that don’t cost anything and will make a world of difference this summer and beyond – so we can all live in communities where we are safe, equal and respected. 

1. Call out disrespectful comments and “jokes”

Whether it’s an end of year breakup for work or your sports club, or a festive lunch with that one relative who always manages to find something offensive to say, the end of the year is a peak time for long conversations with folks who might have different values and perspectives to you.  

Prepare your ears for outdated comments about gender roles, or narrow-minded or generalising statements about racism, discrimination and global conflicts. 

On our wish list:

Speak up! Let them know that you don’t agree with their “joke”; that disrespectful attitudes contribute to a culture where violence against women thrives.  

You don’t need to be argumentative – call them in afterwards with a “I’m surprised you said that; usually you’re the first person to stand up for the underdog,” or a “Your jokes that poke up are funnier – let's stick with those!”

2. Share the emotional labour of holidays

When it comes to holiday magic, it’s all in the hands of someone who makes a list and checks it twice... and it’s not Santa Claus.  

It’s the person cleaning the house before they can put out the decorations. It’s the person figuring out what gifts to get for everyone – balancing thoughtful purchases with budget restraints – and then making sure there’s enough wrapping paper, sticky tape and batteries. It’s the person remembering everyone's favourite holiday foods and intolerances, braving the supermarket in the busiest week of the year, cooking a feast on a boiling summer’s day, and then cleaning up after all of it. It’s the person spending the month of December baking cookies and coming up with new shenanigans for the Elf on the Shelf every day...  

It’s not just cultural holidays either. There’s nothing like a week at the beach, or a road trip to make the most of the summer break. But the chance for everyone to rest and relax while on holiday doesn’t just automatically happen. There’s still packing and cooking and laundry and navigating naptime in an unusual environment to do – and it’s way too easy for that to fall on one person. 

On our wish list:

Split the labour of the holidays in a way that is fair and reasonable. Hint: this doesn’t mean waiting for someone else to make you a list of things to do. Whether it’s planning the holidays with your partner or a BBQ with a group of friends – making a plan together and everyone pitching in their fair share means everyone gets to enjoy themselves.

3. Look out for your mates

Whether it’s New Years Eve gatherings, Hottest 100 listening parties or just a summer session – remember that conversations with your friends can help challenge harmful stereotypes and attitudes that drive violence against women and gendered violence. Is your social group one where everyone is welcome to just be themselves? Where they can share what’s going on in their life without judgement?  

Pressure to live up to gender stereotypes doesn’t always leave space for expressing the range of normal human emotions. Everyone deserves friendships where they can share what’s really going on with each other – including in their relationships.

On our wish list:

In 2024, meaningful, authentic friendships and genuine communication are in, and unhealthy relationships are out.  

So ask how your friends are going, and be prepared to really listen. Challenge the expectation that talking about feelings is a weakness. It’s not. It takes guts.

Learn to recognise relationship red flags and how to discuss them with your friends (even when – especially when – they are the one showing concerning behaviour).

It’s about making sure you’re there for your friends, but also knowing when to call out dangerous, disrespectful attitudes and actions from your mates.