I have been binging over the past week.

Not on the plentiful chocolates or calorific treats that seem to flood the supermarket shelves, but on past editions of the Stratford Press. Putting together this final edition of the year is the task of going through the past year's editions to pick out the "best" of each month for a look back.

Every year I start by dreading it — it takes a good week to go through each edition, picking out the articles, then finding the photos, captioning and summarising them, and then (the hardest part) getting the red pen out and crossing some out — we can only choose a few per month!

But every year, as soon as I start, I find myself really enjoying the task. With a cup of coffee, I read every edition we have put out, often with a smile on my face as I am reminded of the wonderful people we have interviewed, events we have photographed and good news we have celebrated with our readers and our community.

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Now it would be a lie to say the paper is stuffed only with good news. Stratford has its share of tragedy and heartbreak, just like anywhere else. I have covered enough house fires and car accidents to be no stranger to the grief people in our community have experienced.

But in this edition, we choose to focus on the positive. To look back and celebrate the great things in the past year and, hopefully, to remind all our readers that we have a lot to be happy about in our little piece of paradise here in Stratford.

While the team at the Stratford Press will enjoy a couple of week's break, I know not all of our readers have that luxury.

From farmers and rural workers to those in retail or the service industry, many of you will work right through Christmas and New Year, but I hope all of you are able to take an hour or two to reflect on how 2018 has been for you and your loved ones, and take pleasure in the memories.

While the office in Stratford is closed, you can still contact us by phone, email or Facebook and let us know what news is happening in your part of town.

We'll be back in the office from January 7 with the first edition of the Stratford Press in mailboxes on January 9.

Until then, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Ilona