I love this time of year, our winter festival of Christmas and New Year (not 'The Holidays'). I love the brightness and warm of the Christmas decorations, the coming together of friends, the exchanging of gifts (modest is fine by me, it's the thought that counts), the feasting on good food and drink.
It makes such wonderful good sense to have a time in the midst of winter when we can hibernate, if only for a little while. A time to keep warm, to recharge batteries, to remember what is good in life.
I often wonder how people living in the Southern hemisphere get through their winter months without Christmas to break the gloom.
I did have to go into work for a few days over the Christmas period, but it wasn't for full days, not unlike those working in shops, many of whom only got Christmas Day off, such is the greed of big retaillers to make as much money as they can, even if it means that their staff can't spend much time with their families.
The weather was very blowy and blustery, with lots of heavy rain and strong winds, especially on St Stephen's Day. It was not at all favourable for the long walks I'd planned, so instead, I stayed inside, read some of my Christmas books and rearranged the cushions!
Although most of the days were dull and gloomy, the sun burst through this afternoon. It bathed the garland on the stairs in a golden light and prompted me to get my camera, jump in the car, and drive to the shore to catch the last sunset of 2013.
As the sun set on 2013, I was thankful for a year that was mostly good, and that 2014 will bring happiness and prosperity to one and all. Happy New Year.