Readers' letters: Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

It has occurred to me, during the past week of wall to wall Christmas songs on the radio, that almost every single song features sleighbells.

Even the traffic reports have their backing track jingling gently.

Now, I am not a betting man, but even I am willing to bet that the chances of anyone in Scotland over the past 30 or 40 years ever riding in a sleigh, one horse or two, are very long odds.

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Indeed, even the existence of a sleigh in Scotland must be extremely unlikely. The main reason for this lack is the general absence of snow lasting more than a few days in most of Scotland and obviously there is normally even less snow in England, particularly the south.

Consequently all these traditional Christmas messages of snowballs, sleighbells, snowmen and lamplit outdoor carol singing come from a completely different tradition, originally central European, and then North American.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas enorm-ously but it is a bit odd that nearly all our Christmas traditions are foreign.

It must be even more confusing for our children, for whom Christmas is such a magical time, since they never get to experience any of the things they associate with this time of year.

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The worldwide Christmas industry is similarly all powerful. I have experienced December in Hong Kong and Japan, which is surreal, and what it must be like in Southern Hemisphere countries is mind-boggling.

Perhaps we should all invest in some sort of AI holodeck, like in Star Trek, where we can pretend to indulge in all these Christmas traditions, despite the rain and wind outside. Merry Christmas everybody! Jingle! Jingle!

Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Edinburgh.

It’s time to get tough on the fly-tippers

The Scottish government is proposing that fines for fly-tipping could be more than doubled from £200 to £500 and that the litter louts would be forced to attend litter-picking sessions.

The SNP-dominated Scottish Government has been in power for 16 years and done nothing. Hidden cameras should have been deployed years ago to catch these litter louts and fly-tippers. People throw litter out of cars, but if the car behind has a camera recording this and the number plate, then police can act and the publicity would deter others.

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Those reporting litter offences should be given £100. Litter education has failed for over 40 years, so time to get tough and raise the penalty to £1000.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Thanks for helping us at CH&S Scotland

On behalf of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this year as we have continued to see Covid-19 challenge us.

We have seen increased demand for our services, and with shop closures and lack of fundraising events, our income has being threatened.

With our NHS colleagues we continue to develop our Hospital to Home service to provide care for people living with a chest or heart condition of the effects of stroke.

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We have seen over 6350 Kindness volunteers deliver over 35,250 acts of kindness across local communities, helping people through kindness phone calls, shopping trips, dog walks and online activity.

Thank you for every donation, it has made a huge difference. Because of you we can be there for people when it matters most, we are able to help people to do more than survive.

Jane-Claire Judson, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland