Leading article: Merry Winterval

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The Independent Online

If you exclude the transport chaos - a big if, we concede - this festive season has passed off more smoothly than many of its recent predecessors. No panic about the post, no shortages of turkey (the fashionable bird is goose), and no supplier has yet reported running out of champagne. Despite gloomy forecasts, the tree supply seems to have matched demand, and there are still plenty of mince pies and puddings to be had.

True, Hamley's toy shop was embarrassed by internet bargain-hunters who stripped its warehouse almost bare of this year's favourites, and there were the predictable recalls of dangerous tree lights. All in all, though, there have been many worse preludes to the festive season; even the Prime Minister has given us all permission to wish each other Happy Christmas. We would only add Season's Greetings, Merry Winterval, Happy Holidays... Take your pick - and enjoy a well-deserved break.