LHNCC Chairman’s New Year Message

There seems to be another person in our house these days. Google Mini Home. It listens to all we say and | suppose we should now be a bit more careful. He, or is it she, informed me that in the oft-sung carol the Twelve Days of Christmas there are in fact a total of 364 gifts given to the singer. Would we ever need so many gifts?

For me | have to say that Christmas is not the same unless ‘proper’ carols are sung and preferably by candle-light to get to that real Christmas story. This we do locally at North Leith Parish church if we are at home and if away on holiday at a local church or such arranged gathering as we can find.

But what of Christmas 2019 as I reflect on the past few days and weeks?

TV adverts for well–known supermarkets positively groaning under the weight of masses of food enough for a whole street let alone a real family. The Christmas No. 1 song that we have waited to be announced by the media each year for decades now is about of all things we can relate to, sausage rolls, and just like last year was as well. The high street shops still, however, playing Christmas songs for as long ago as the 1970’s when the lyrics were definitely better. You may disagree.

Christmas Cards still a plenty despite yet not having seen the sender for years. The enclosed letters that they sometimes contained would have been better written with less emphasis on medications and hospital operations in such detail. This year the high point for us was a WhatsApp call to cousins in Canada where despite being thousands on miles distant we were able to join in with their family celebrations. Telephone calls once cost what seemed a small fortune at the time.

Here in Leith there will have been many celebrating in a ‘family’ but our thoughts should also be for those who were on their own. Perhaps through the recent loss of a loved one but more often through the isolation that single living can sometime bring made all the more noticeable when regular daily or weekly events are curtailed because of the holiday period. This made all the worse by what was once referred to as ‘slender means’ where those luxuries shown on TV are well beyond reach.

A time to reflect on those ‘gifts’ I mentioned earlier again. The 364 from the carol will not be enough for a that true ‘one a day’ experience we have come to expect of many things today as 2020 is a leap year. Perhaps we have already received the two gifts that are missing to fulfil this requirement.

The first is that of ‘friendship’. As Scots we make those New Year resolutions and we are known for our basic willingness to greet others but often we forget to do so. Why not make a point of saying a ‘hello’ to the stranger we pass in the street or even that neighbour across the hallway that we pass so regularly but do not yet know their name.

The second could be our ‘tolerance’ of others with whom we may not agree. | heard some good advice given the other day. When we are about to argue or even worse still fight with a neighbour or perhaps an official of some kind on a matter which may later prove to be quite small, why not postpone doing so until tomorrow or even the day after for that matter.

Noddy Holder of the group ‘Slade’ in the lyrics of one of the best known Christmas songs says ‘look to the future it’s only just begun’ As we approach the New Year with whatever 2019 has brought you let us all look towards that brighter future that we can bring to our own lives and to those around us just using the gifts that already we have.

On behalf of Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council I wish you all the best for 2020.

Douglas Tharby


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