CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: Darin Hutson Editor of the Southern Reporter

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It is no surprise that the Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life remains one of our foremost festive favourites over 70 years on from its original 1946 release.

Though ultimately offering a hefty helping of feelgood factor, it steers clear of the oversentimentality that this time of the year can bring with it.

Starting off with a financial scandal, bar-room brawl and suicide attempt might not seem the most obvious way of getting viewers feeling festive, but it works, and that’s because it doesn’t try too hard to be relentlessly upbeat.

Yes, the message there is clear that life is wonderful, but it’s equally recognised that no life is wonderful all the time, just as no life is completely devoid of moments of wonder.

That holds true in the Borders as much as anywhere else in the world, and 2017 has brought both good and bad news for the region, with the former, in my judgement, probably coming out on top.

The year now ending has, like all years before it since the beginning of history, offered both triumph and tragedy, both happiness and misery.

Too many jobs have been lost due to various businesses’ misfortunes and too many lives continue to be claimed by our roads and seemingly-avoidable health issues for 2017 to be regarded as an unmixed blessing.

On the other hand, though, scores of new jobs are being created, action is being taken to improve our roads and various moves are afoot to boost the economy of the region and protect it from some of the potential troubles that Britain’s exit from the European Union could inflict upon it.

There is much cause for optimism as 2018 draws nearer, and we can only hope that that promise is fulfilled.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish all Borderers the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Hogmanays and all the best for next year.