Hello and a very happy Christmas from the Scottish Parliament!
As Presiding Officer, I am delighted to take this opportunity to bring you the Christmas greetings of all of the Members and staff of the Scottish Parliament.
2011 has been an exciting year in Scottish politics and a busy one here at Holyrood.
For me personally, it was a great honour to have been elected as the parliament’s fourth Presiding Officer following our elections in May. With the valued and close support of our two Deputy Presiding Officers, I have enjoyed every minute of my time working with the Parliament’s Members and staff.
And I have especially enjoyed meeting with the many people and organisations from around the country who have passed through our doors.
In the days leading up to Christmas, the parliament’s Members and staff came together with our neighbours: the residents, schoolchildren and workers of the local Holyrood community to celebrate the Christmas season in a very traditional way: a delightful carol service in our garden lobby.
For me, that was a highly fitting way to end the parliamentary year.
Christmas is a time to be enjoyed with those close to us: family, friends and our loved ones.
We know however that it is not always possible and our thoughts and prayers are very much with the brave men and women of our armed forces serving overseas; and with their families at home.
And to our friends and colleagues overseas, we wish you all the very best in whatever part of the world this message reaches you. The Scottish Parliament, looks forward to welcoming and working with you, in the year to come.
I hope that wherever you are and, whatever your plans, you have a peaceful, and happy Christmas.