Christmas 2017 is here and the season of good will, parties and family gatherings is very much in full swing.
The final run-in and rushing around will eventually end and the sudden calm of Christmas and the good company of family and friends will hopefully take hold for us all and we can see in 2018 in style.
Christmas of course is about family and being together over the traditional twelve days. When we think of Christmas many of our thoughts are shaped around Charles Dickens writings - carol singing and such - and our own special memories of loved ones who are no longer with us come back in to a real focus this time of year.
As a nation, indeed as a community here in Kilkenny, we are very much to the fore in thinking and supporting others.
And Christmas can be a difficult time for many, a lonely time for some who may not have family or friends near or who may feel isolated. It can also be a time when our finances are stretched, and many of our neighbours will have to consider what they spend their hard earned money on.
If you can, support St Vincent De Paul this time of year in particular. Last year, nationally they received 130,000 calls for assistance and have handled all those calls with the discretion and compassion one has grown to expect from this wonderful organisation.
The demand for their services continues to be high in Ireland in the 21st century with the housing crisis, rising costs in bills and indeed education and precarious work situations all adding to stress among families which can escalate at Christmas.
Among recent statistics SVP have released is that there are approximately 70,000 more children living in poverty today than there were before the recession in 2008. One in four families are living in consistent poverty.
According to their research, almost 45% of the population would be living below the poverty line but for “social transfers,” - government support.
It is the most wonderful time of the year, and you can make it special for many.