Jolly nearly there

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, whether it’s an important religious festival for you or not, in fact, even if you want to hide under the duvet until it’s all over, there is something in the line… ‘tis the season to be jolly’.

At this time of year, whilst we still endure a few more days of having to get up and out when it’s dark and cold, whilst we still have to be in work, often painting on the smile for the children and young people, despite the tiredness, despite the 101 jobs that still need doing at school, college or work, we do need to remind ourselves, brace ourselves, to be jolly. It’s not a bad thing. We shouldn’t have to be made to be upbeat and positive, and in fact it isn’t something that can be externally imposed, but if we do try to find ways of lifting the spirits during this season, this period, then we will all feel the benefit. Using the old cliché of seeing the glass half full (even if that’s advocaat – not eggnog!) is a useful mindset. Lift your own spirits and you will feel better.

Lifting your own spirits will also lift the spirits of those around us. If we all do it and we all do it together we can get that collective boost. Doing that might be difficult but we can only control what we can control and finding some positivity in these dark days, at these dark times, is necessary for our personal and collective mental health. Take some personal responsibility for finding reasons to be jolly.

And so here are some things to feel jolly about, some good news, if you like. Some things that you may have seen, or might have missed, which might just bring a warm glow, a smile and an uplift of your spirit.

I know there’s loads going on in our schools and in the college but just a flavour…

  • Sitwell Junior School held a wonderful annual winter fair on Thursday.
  • Winterhill School has a week of panto productions planned; especially great for the primary school children getting that experience at the school throughout the week. – good luck all and break a leg.
  • Oakwood High School will host its semi-regular evening of performances next Wednesday.
  • Thomas Rotherham College has taken part in Cash for Kids Mission Christmas! – raising loads of cash for some of our more deprived communities.


  • A ‘landmark’ climate deal was struck at COP28.
  • A cure for pregnancy sickness moved closer.
  • The scimitar-horned oryx is roaming Chad again after conservationists reintroduced it using captive animals.
  • Kiwi chicks have hatched in Wellington, the New Zealand capital, for the first time in more than 150 years.
  • A mother has thanked paramedics who delivered her baby on her bedroom floor.

The point being that all year, but especially at this time of year, there’s loads of good stuff going on, in our personal lives, locally, nationally and internationally; that can get lost in the understandable din of some of the desperate national and international news; that can get lost in the tiring work that we all do, at this tiring time of year; that can get lost in the minutiae of our daily interactions with our children, our young people and our colleagues.

To bring a smile, how about some of the best alternative cracker jokes?

Why did Santa’s helper see the doctor?
To give a family spanning three generations a simple punchline at which they all could groan and thereby enjoy a small and rare moment of communion. – Liam Williams

Why are horse-drawn carriages so unpopular?
Because horses are rubbish at drawing. – Alex Horne

What did the snowflake say to the fallen leaf?
You are so last season. – Kerry Godliman

Which author steals train sets from under the Christmas tree?
Nick Hornby. – Milton Jones

I don’t like grasshoppers.
They’re just not crickets. – Phil Wang

How do Santa’s employees have to register their tax returns?
Elf assessment – Twins

What’s a dog’s favourite carol?
Bark, the herald angels sing. – Tim Vine

And finally, for the mathematicians…

What’s a mathematician’s favourite Christmas snack?
A mince pi.- Birthday Girls