Leader comment: Happy Christmas to all our readers

Getting ready for the big day is the most stressful time of the year for some families. Buying presents, sending cards, attending parties, keeping the kids entertained, and preparing a three-course meal can leave parents in particular completely spent, financially and physically, by the time Christmas Day arrives. What a very 'first world' problem to have to endure.

Amid the fun and festivities, we should not forget those less fortunate than ourselves, at home and abroad.

In the rush to tick all these boxes, it is too easy to lose sight of what Christmas is really about, whether we consider that to be the birth of Christ or simply a once-a-year occasion for families to get together in celebration.

And while it’s easy to be cynical about Christmas messages from politicians, our party leaders do us a service by drawing our attention to those less fortunate than ourselves, and those who will be working throughout Christmas to keep lifeline services available.

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We tend to think of those less fortunate as the poor and the homeless, but encouragingly, there is an increasing awareness of the often forgotten issue of loneliness at this time of year. Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to check on a friend or a neighbour who is on their own, as well as asking us to remember those working for the emergency services.

The First Minister has also thanked those who have welcomed refugees to Scotland this year, who will be a long way from what was their home this Christmas.

Opposition party leaders have delivered similar messages, highlighting those who should be in our thoughts both at home and abroad, at an uncertain time in global politics.

Here at The Scotsman, we echo all these sentiments. In the season of goodwill, we wish all our readers and their families a peaceful and very happy Christmas.