As this is my last column of 2019, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all the best for the festive season, and a happy new year when it comes.

This time of year is a great opportunity to connect with people in our community, none more so than those who we maybe haven’t seen out and about as much as we used to do – maybe they have been unwell, or are just not as mobile any more.

Rather than posting a card through the door, why not knock and deliver it face to face?

It’s a chance to chat and catch up, and to show that person you have them in mind – which for many, may be a much needed boost through the colder, darker winter days.

This is when our elderly friends and relatives will appreciate our help and company the most.

And if they offer you a cup of tea, why not accept? It’s all too easy to make excuses – we’ve all got such busy lives.

But in return for a few minutes of your time, you will be rewarded with funny stories of Christmas past, insights into the area and its people, and treasured memories to inspire the heart.

It might be the only company that person has had all day – and you are likely to learn something new and to leave with a smile on your face.

We can learn so much from the stories of our senior citizens. They knew ways of getting along fine before “throwaway culture” was forced upon us by sleekit companies, before everything came triple-wrapped in impossible-to-open packaging.

People knew then where their food came from – and what was in it. They also often knew how to fix broken things, back in the days when things were built to last.

They will remember a time when recycling meant re-using – milk and other bottles were washed and refilled.

Water was free from drinking fountains. Leftovers were made into soups, stews or hashes.

Second-hand paper and cloth was put to other uses, from wrapping parcels to wrapping up toddlers in the cold.

So this Christmas, why not take the opportunity to learn more about how the way things were – because in order to save the future, we might do well to look to our past.