I'm a little bit excited. For the first time in I don't know how long, I have all four public holidays off as well as the days in between.

Apart from Christmas Day I have absolutely no plans at all except maybe to relax.
It's been one heck of a year and I don't mind saying I'm looking forward to 2019.

This year has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, more downs than ups.

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For my wider family there has been cancer scares, falls, time spent in hospital, but there's also been fun, laughter and time spent with children.

A major project this year for us was kitchen and dining room renovations and a new deck.

I have to say that nearly cracked me and, speaking of cracks, I've seen my fair share of builders' cracks over the past year. Sometimes I didn't know where to direct my eyes.

Now I know what people mean when they say renovations and building can be a nightmare.

It really is like being on a rollercoaster. The anticipation builds and builds and then you are plunged into disappointment because something is holding up the works or the oven doesn't fit properly.

Anyway, it's all been worth it and I'm looking forward to having lots of people over to enjoy it with us on Christmas Day. And you know what — no one died.

We get to celebrate Christmas and New Year with no extra empty chairs — other families haven't been so lucky.

Looking back at some of the highlights of 2018 I would have to say that work-wise it's been meeting some fantastic people in our community.

We have such a buzzing business community at the moment and it has been a privilege to meet some of the inspiring women who have taken a chance and built up wonderful businesses from scratch.

I'm sure there are loads more men and women in our community working hard to build their business. Hopefully 2018 has been kind to you.

Locally news-wise 2018 has been full of Te Mata track, water and the port to name a few. It will be interesting to see how these things pan out in 2019.

To all you people out there who are working over Christmas and New Year, especially our police and emergency services— thank you. Hopefully you will have a nice quiet time of it.
To all of you reading this I wish you a merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year. Be kind to yourself, and everyone else around you.

Catch you next year.

Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.