to our readers, our authors, their families, and everyone any of you care about. It is a wonderful holiday, whether you have snow or palm trees, accreting everything worth working for – generosity, family reconnection, lights, peace, music, good food – and marvellously resistant to competition, commercialization, and small-minded whining of every kind, even to Christians unclear on the concept trying to build a fence around it and deny it to everyone else. OK, “holiday season” if you like, but the holiday that makes it is Christmas. New Year’s, at least in the northern hemisphere, is functionally and affectively just after US Labor day, when everything starts up again (the Jews have this right) and Chanukah is not really a big deal in Jewish tradition. Christmas isn’t a Christian monopoly, and why should it be? It’s big enough now to comfortably embrace the secondary Christian celebration, just another thing that makes it better for its richness and diversity, but Christmas is syncretic and no less an ancient winter festival for that, and no less a northern celebration with snow and a conifer because we also dress it up with a semitropical holly and eat a lot of chocolate. And it’s spreading steadily from European cultures around the world, so you’re all having Christmas if you went to the store or don’t go to work Monday or get invited to someone’s Christmas dinner or listen to the radio. And I hope yours is warm and hopeful, and you’ve noticed the days getting a tidge longer again along with all the other good things afoot.