If Christmas did not exist it would need to be invented. Perfectly timed at the end of the year, it allows for many people worldwide to celebrate in some way shape or form. This may be the formal religious celebration or simply a catch up with friends and family.

It continues to endure despite the efforts of the humourless PC brigade to erase it. This year we have seen “celebration cakes” instead of Christmas cakes and the rewriting of Christmas Carols with PC lyrics.  And keep in mind that the “holiday” in happy holidays is only there because it is Christmas. Never in human existence has it been so controversial to simply call a spade a spade.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah (which ran from December 2 till 10) celebrates light. As the excellent leader piece in The Spectator (December 8) noted light is a metaphor for education, truth, discovery, freedom, love and hope. Darkness provides a cover which light dissolves. It is very difficult to hide in bright light.

As the piece concluded “With so much encroaching darkness on so many fronts and in so many parts of the modern world, the significance of light and all it symbolizes is something we could all do with celebrating”.

Personally, I remain optimistic about the future of the world and so do not buy into all the doom and gloom predictions of planetary destruction.

Returning to Christmas, it is worth remembering that it is not a happy time for all. Those who have lost loved ones (especially recently) will feel a magnified sadness. For others who are alone this feeling can be magnified. And then there are those who get stressed about Christmas.

It always strikes me as odd that many adults look forward to Christmas being over. As children, they looked forward to Christmas. When did it stop being fun?

And what can we do to put the fun back in?

Like all things in life Christmas time will be what you make of it. The essence of the season is about relationships and giving not struggling.

If you don’t want to party then don’t. It is OK to decline invitations. Equally if you enjoy parties then go out and do so. If you don’t want to have a big meal, then you don’t have to. If you don’t want to cater for large numbers then don’t. Alternately ask everyone you invite to bring a plate.

There is no need to do more stuff or buy more stuff than you feel comfortable doing. Young children often enjoy the wrapping paper as much as the present inside. You don’t have to buy for everyone. Cards and small mementos can be as cherished as golden rings. Plus, use cash rather than plastic if managing the budget and not wanting a credit card hangover in January.

The power to choose rests with you. Decisions that you make in life will never please everyone so they might as well please you.

Be respectful of others, but run your own race at Christmas and every day.

This is my last post for 2018.  I will return in late January. A big thank you to all readers for your support.

Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2019.