Hogmanay is a time to celebrate

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With Christmas having passed by for another year, our thoughts turn to Hogmanay.

Or do they? Perhaps you’re one of many folk who simply cannot be bothered to mark the start of the New Year.

Maybe you’ll stay up long enough to watch Jackie Bird complete the countdown on BBC1, before hastily turning off your TV before the customary studio ceilidh band can begin another eightsome reel.

While it can be fun to take part in, there’s no denying that country dancing does not make for a compelling spectator sport.

Personally, I plan to spend the night at a party, or in a suitable licensed premises, far from any TV set.

I’m an unashamed fan of Hogmanay. I consider it to be a fine Scottish tradition and one that should be embraced with gusto.

But I appreciate that many people fall out of love with Hogmanay as they grow older, and that many feel the occasion has become too much of an excuse for excessive alcohol consumption.

However, that’s a charge that can be laid at the door of many large public events, not just in Scotland but across the UK.

I’ve witnessed levels of drunkenness at the Open golf tournament far worse than anything I’ve seen on the streets of Edinburgh in the early hours of January 1.

We should of course remember that Hogmanay does not need to be a time of boozing. It is an opportunity to see in the new year in the company of friends and family, and express hope that the coming 12 months are a fruitful and happy time for all that are present.

Above all, it should be an example of Scottish hospitality - proof to the world that we’re not as dour they think.

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