This Christmas could be said to be a little more emotionally charged than most.
After our whanau and friends from north of the Bombay Hills were again welcomed back south last week, tearful reunions were tempered by a sense of trepidation.
For every guest welcomed with open arms there is potentially a stowaway.
It is an interloper that, by its very nature, is on the take.
A grifter that wherever your belief system lies has taken a lot from all of us.
It goes by various Greek names, but it is all from the same family and it is a family that, as potentially prejudiced as that sounds, we actually do not want.
As New Zealand faces its second Covid-19 coloured silly season there is a sense things have changed.
For all changes there is a consistent and enduring message to emerge from the festive season.
While summer is not cancelled, many of the things we tend to associate with a traditional Central Otago and Wanaka Christmas, New Year and summer are.
What has not changed is what Christmas and the festive season is supposed to mean put aside differences, even if only temporarily, for the spirit of togetherness.
Any student of history knows the story of the Christmas truce, also known as the Christmas Armistice, which took place at Ypres in Belgium on Christmas Day 1914.
It is a near-mythical event in World War 1.
It never happened again, in any war, anywhere.
But for one day, one Christmas, more than a century ago, everyone just put down their weapons and started to sing.
Everybody just stopped.
Everyone . . . was just kind.
This Christmas The News hopes you and your loved ones will embrace togetherness.
- The News team finished up for the year last Friday and will be out of the office until January 10, 2022. Our reporters will still be out and about and on the ground ahead of our first issue for next year, which will be published on January 13.