​There’s no right or wrong way to feel at Christmas - Lorna Slater

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna SlaterMinister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
​The festive season can be a time of mixed emotions for a lot of people. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about it.

It is a time when families and friends come together, often after months apart, with joy, hugs and lifelong memories. But for others it is a time when feelings of isolation and loss can be greater than ever.

Many of us naturally see it as an occasion to think of the people we love and care about and of the things we are grateful for. But it is also a time for us to take stock as we remember the people we love who are no longer there and all of the memories they have given us.

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In a city like ours there are so many different experiences. The thriving markets, cozy reunions and busy restaurants all tell important stories, but equally valid are those of the people who do not feel as able to celebrate.

The holidays may offer many of us the opportunity to relax, recharge, catch up with friends and loved ones and take a break. But we know that’s not the case for everyone.

Even reading a newspaper like the Edinburgh Evening News on a day like today is only possible because of the great team who have worked to produce it, the people who have distributed it and those who opened their shops to sell it. I’m grateful to all of you.

We should also thank the emergency service workers and the everyone who has worked through the night to keep us safe. Every doctor, nurse, fire-fighter, police officer and vital service provider should be in our thoughts and given our gratitude.

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It can also be a particularly challenging and often overwhelming time for people who are struggling with stress or mental health. If you are having a hard time you are not alone. Far from it.

YouGov polling has shown that one in four of us will find it tough. The feeling is even more acute among marginalised communities, with LGBTQ news site Pink News finding that 8 in 10 of their readers feel they have to hide who they are from relatives over the festive season.

For those finding it difficult, I promise that there are people who care. Lots of us. I hope there are better and brighter days ahead, and that 2024 offers them in abundance.

If there are people in your life who are struggling, then keep them in your thoughts and, if you can, try to check-in. The last few years in particular have underlined just how entwined our lives are and how vital it is that we support one another.

I hope that everyone reading this can have as positive and memorable an end to 2023 as possible and a peaceful start to 2024.

Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

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