It’s a time of year for family, friendship, sharing and celebrating.
At Christmas, most people wish to be with their family.
In the lead-up to the festive period, there will always be someone who can’t join you for such a memorable time.
Not everyone can spend time this Christmas with their family as they may be away working.
Last week I watched HMS Lancaster dock in Portsmouth after a substantial time away.
After a seven-month deployment, sailors aboard the ship were no doubt looking forward to seeing their family and friends again.
I was there for my brother-in-law with my sister and niece. The welcoming home ceremony was supported by the Royal Marines band and entertainment for children.
The atmosphere was full of joy. I was surrounded by lots of excited children, loving partners and parents as the ship slowly sailed into the docks.
What made it really great was the fact that the servicemen and woman came home just in time for Christmas.
Around me there were children screaming and crying with happiness, my niece included.
Watching those sailors run off the ship and rush to their families was really emotional but brilliant to watch.
To the families of those that work on HMS Lancaster, you don’t need to be disappointed about not having a family member home for Christmas as they are here.
It can be difficult to make it the most wonderful time knowing that a family member is away at work.
Let’s not forget those who can’t be with us this Christmas and hope that they are happy wherever they are.
For some, this may be the first Christmas without a loved one as you lost them over the past year. If so, take the opportunity to sit back, raise a glass and remember those no longer with you.
If you find it hard to manage without them, remember the good times with them.
I hope that wherever you are, whatever you do, whoever you’re with, you have a wonderful Christmas.