What makes the subjects of Carols by Candlelight and street parties relevant to an article about climate change?
Around the world there is evidence of an increase in the frequency and intensity of what used to be called "natural disasters".
The life-threatening cold in North America, the terrible bush fires and floods in California and Australia, not to mention the drought that we are still feeling the effects of, are happening to people everywhere.
Aside from the absolute need for disaster planning on the part of governments, and an increase in individual and household awareness of how to prepare and respond, there is another important layer in society, and that's the strength of local communities.
Modern technology has given us the capacity to belong to "virtual" communities of like-minded people all across the planet, but when physical (and emotional) disaster strikes, the people who live in your street, your local community, are sharing that disaster with you.
Do you know who they are?
Sometimes the people living nearby might be similar to you - for instance, in a retirement village, or a new development where everyone is in a young family with children.
But generally in a place like Armidale or Guyra your neighbours might have little in common with you in age, interests, income etc.
There's no need to become great friends, or to share the same values.
But in terms of common humanity, when disaster strikes we do all care about each other.
There are increasing levels of anxiety about the future.
One all-too-human response is to hunker down, erect fences and close ranks with "your own people".
Another response is to be open to others, at a neighbourly level - not dropping all boundaries, but noticing each other, greeting in the street, and being aware of who lives near you.
Attending events that are free and open to all, like the markets in the Mall and Farmers' Markets; annual events like Carols By Candlelight, the Black Gully Festival, the recent Street Arts Festival or Reconciliation Bridge Walk, get us rubbing shoulders, recognising local faces, and feeling comfortable because we are among familiar people.
Life can be hard in this 21st century, and ironically "improvements" in communications can have the effect of setting us apart from each other.
Living in a community where you know your neighbours, helps to diminish the fear that can build up as you hear about disasters, and has an important role in coping with change.