In this day and age, countries do many almost-human things like apologize to each other. Maybe they should also give each other Christmas presents. Any ideas?
I have one so far. For Latvia, the country that we share a patch of contiguous land with and without whom, as Hando Runnel said, we can't get to Lithuania.
The obvious one is an island, it's almost as much of a cliche as a necktie for dad, as gift ideas go for Latvia. But islands aren't neckties; they're like pets and kids - they take a lot of work. They're money pits and attract environmentally-unfriendly bridges and developers. So no island. Latvia will still be islandless in 2012. Whatever the opposite of archipelagoan is, Latvia would be it.
A present has to be good for the recipient and year-specific. This year, considering recent news down in Latvia (even though there may be no cause for real alarm and what appears to be a dangerous fifth column is actually a patriotic bunch of multiculturalists), I propose we give Latvia the opportunity to ask residents of the four adjoining Estonian counties if they would want dual Latvian citizenship. Latvia happens right now to be in the process of relaxing its laws against dual citizenship with other EU countries; Estonia can do the same for these folks. There would be no strings attached. Their abode, domicile, and home, etc. would continue to be Estonia. Diplomatic efforts could be launched now to find out whether Latvia might find this amenable.
The 200,000-plus people living in these counties tend to be a bit rural populist, I know, but the better part of them are good honest Igaunians. And sturdy, not to say heavy-set in the case of the pork, potato and barley-scarfing mulks from Viljandi County.
I know they'd vow to uphold the Latvian constitution in a pinch.
Hopefully the Lats would not be too proud. Not only could we be in this position, the Latvians might even return the favor someday - perhaps after seeing which way the wind was blowing,..but nevertheless. And that's Baltic cooperation. The main thing is that there would be no Gift of the Magi scenario where neither country has any use for mutual gifts. That scenario been on my mind lately, although I must say I have very little reliable information about the true balance of power in Latvia. The only thing I have concluded is that there are really no English-language Latvian current events blogs for outsiders.
But even if I'm overreacting, this can't possibly hurt. It would be worst for the southern Estonians duals. They'd never hear the end of it from their (Estonian) countrymen. But I think many of them would see the wisdom of it. It's win-win.
My own personal gesture is that I will resume learning Latvian in 2012. And I will refrain from jokes about the ancient digital libel (the one about Latvians having an extra toe) until Leap Year.