OUR second Christmas of the pandemic is going to be unusual, a little stilted perhaps, but not as locked down as last year.

Some will worry about the omicron spike that is bound to hit us in the New Year; others will be cheered by the data that suggests you are 70 per cent less likely to be hospitalised if you catch this variant.

So things are getting better: the pubs and restaurants are not shut and we can still enjoy them. In fact, we should go and enjoy them if we can and if we want them to survive – but we should enjoy them sensibly, soberly, behind masks, making light of being in a freezing pub garden on one of the jolliest days of the year.

However you celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a good one – readers, advertisers, printers and web browsers alike, plus particularly the newsagents and delivery people, who work so hard every morning on our behalf. And again we acknowledge all those at work in vital services over the holiday, especially those who will be giving up bank holidays to get jabs into arms.

We hope you can enjoy Christmas in the best of health surrounded by at least some of your family, boosted by the optimism that next year we will again be taking strides back towards normality.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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