Amid the flurry of last minute shopping, the strains of cheesy carols, and the strategic wrangling of relatives, there has also been a strong sense of caution as the COVID numbers continue to rise.
But there is also a sense of gratitude.
Many families were reunited after many months apart, and while things are not completely back to normal, we can glimpse hope ahead.
The shared experience of the last couple of years has left us all changed in some way, and perhaps in ways we don't yet realise.
At the lighting of the Christmas tree we caught up with Nicki Scholes - Robertson, Armidale's 2021 Citizen of the Year, who said that this year had been amazing because people had been so generous at a time when things had been so bad.
The Express in recent weeks has also reflected the joy felt in our region with the return of community events.
These events bring back social connection, something that has been severely disrupted now for many long months.
At the end of a difficult year, I hope you have enjoyed following the local news brought to you, and we thank you for your support.
I also hope you were able to unwrap the most valuable gift of all last Saturday; time spent with family and friends.
Have a happy and safe new year's eve, hopefully in the company of those you love, and I'll be in touch again next week.
Acting editor Northern Tablelands North West
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