A bare larder and a drained wine cellar forced us out in the rain for rations. I was intrigued by the Christmas trinket aisle at the local supermarket where all manner of yuletide paraphernalia can be purchased. We fondled the multi-coloured shiny balls, flickering fairy lights, soft toy Santas, naff papier-mâché nativity scenes and twinkling, tinselled trees, all manufactured by the enterprising Chinese. It seems Turks have appropriated many Christmas traditions and grafted them on to New Year. It gladdens my impious heart. The core Christmas value of giving and goodwill is a universal message that transcends religion. I treasure the lucky luxury of spending time with family and friends. Tragically, this is not an easy time for the lost and the lonely. It’s no co-incidence that, right across Christendom, suicide rates soar.