Christmas is a time that most of us will spend with family and close friends.
It gives an opportunity to enjoy company of the ones we have known the longest and care for the most. It allows us to treat ourselves with food and drink and to spoil our nearest and dearest with gifts and love.
Well that’s the plan anyway.
But Christmas can also be stressful; the pressure to spend more on gifts than we can really afford, or the pain of missing loved ones no longer with us. Most of us will have experienced this side of Christmas time too.
However your Christmas is and whoever it is with what we shouldn’t be shy about– particularly this year – is talking about the future of our country.
Scotland stands at cross roads and each one of us has a say in deciding which path forward the country should take.
Should we make the choice to build a fairer and more prosperous country by voting Yes on September 18 of 2014? Or must we stick with our lot, vote No and trust Westminster to provide for Scotland?
It’s a straight choice: independence to deliver more powers for Scotland – or the political union that ties Scotland to the Westminster system.
The vast majority of our friends and family are likely to be openminded – and if you’re fortunate you’ll get a Q&A from the undecided ones. You’ll be doing most of the answering, and you’ll be painting a picture of the type of Scotland you choose to imagine.
The Scottish Government has published the 670-page guide setting how exactly how an independent Scotland will work.
The No campaign, by contrast, hasn’t given their core vote anything to support or anything to aspire to – no vision, no positivity, just nay-saying.
Perhaps slowly but certainly surely, convinced No voters are becoming fewer in number – the trend of recent polls shows a movement from No to don’t know, and from don’t know to Yes.
It stands to reason that as the No vote softens the holidays present the perfect opportunity to talk about the gains of independence; your hopes about the country the younger members of family – or indeed ones not yet born – might inherit in 5, 10 and 20 years time.
The official No campaign could and should have come up with an offering by now – an alternative, a positive vision for Scotland.
But instead they’ve just churned out scare story after scare story. They are now at the stage of regurgitating these stories and (on the odd occasion) desperately trying to spin out new ones.
But as we enter into 2014, and towards Scotland’s decision day early next autumn, not talking about what a No vote means will become increasingly difficult.
As we move through winter, into spring and upwards towards the full flight of campaign mode in the summer – just seven short months away – the debate will undoubtedly intensify.
The scale and frequency of community and of televised debates will only increase.
This sharpening of the focus on the referendum will be relished by the Yes campaign and be a source of great angst for No.
But don’t wait for the summer. Raise a glass for one and all this Christmas – and raise the question about the sort of society and nation you and your loved ones want to live in.