When you've spent decades writing Christmas stories for print, television and digital news, it's hard to come up with an original line to describe this time of the year.
"Festive season", "Christmas cheer", "merry and bright" and so on; these phrases have started appearing already in advertisements and in news headlines, including ours.
What I really want to write is that I can smell, see and hear Christmas coming. It's the combination of the shifting and lengthening sun and its crimson and ochre sunrises and sunsets; the heat hitting freshly cut grass and my neighbour's fragrant garden; and the deafening brass band of cicadas out my front door.
Given this will be my first Christmas living away from Sydney since the '90s, in a place where I can feel the sea breeze and smell the ocean from my front door, it's no wonder my senses are having a party.
But I know there are so many who don't find cheer in this time of year, so I can't commend enough the charities pitching in to raise funds or to gather toys for those not feeling so festive.
Please support them all where you can. Today's Salvos Toy Run from Laurieton to Westport Park is just one example.
In the meantime, we want to make sure everyone knows about the many community events being held around the region.
So we've created a FREE rolling guide for the Hastings and Camden Haven. From today, we'll be adding events as you, our readers, send them in. So be sure to read the story to get the details.
THEN... (drumroll)... standby for the launch of our interactive Christmas light map on December 1. This one's for subscribers, so be sure to sign-up to the Port News and Camden Haven Courier to see where to find the best lightshows around (and to read all our local news and feature stories).
And if you want us to put your colourfully decorated house or business on the map, just send us the details. Spotters are also welcome to let us know the best streets.
Have a great (festive) weekend everyone!
Editor, North Coast ACM (Port Macquarie News and Camden Haven Courier)
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