Father Christmas has come and gone for another year, and the children are calming down with their new toys. We’ve seen everything from X-Boxes to dolls from Frozen, from the classics like Lego and Monopoly to Spiderman shooting gloves. It’s been brilliant fun, and the grown-ups are relishing the preoccupation of the young folk; it gives them time to sit back and take in the peace and quiet of a Boxing Day afternoon. I have had fun, and it has been wonderful to see so many happy faces. Like every other year it wasn’t the gifts that put the best smiles on people’s faces – it was the craic. In the midst of the pre-Christmas grump it is so easy to forget how much amusement there is in pulling crackers, putting on the paper crowns and reading out the cheesy jokes.

Thank God it’s over all the same. Christmas Eve, the day itself and Boxing Day are all that are needed, and I have made a point of relishing every moment of it, but it is drawing to a close and soon we will all be about our usual business. This year has been stressful. The world hasn’t quite changed the way that I had wanted it to, but the bets are all still on, and I – for one – am not overly worried about getting where we want to go. It was encouraging to meet a number of people who had voted No to Scottish independence who are now of another opinion. Aye, too late, but we will have another day. I’m going to leave Scotland tomorrow and take a large slice of this Christmas with me.

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