December is the ceiling of the year - the end of the 12-month cycle - and, given the current weather clogging and blanketing Britain, no doubt a nuisance and misery to many. But it is also the best of months. Though many no doubt prefer June, that central cauldron of possibility, December offers license of a darker sort - or rather, encourages illumination in a dark time. For those who seek spiritual succour, December is the seat of many religious festivals and occasions for celebration. For those of a merrier disposition, jolly options are on the calendar. Indeed, the festive opportunities begin early, and include gifting, eating, drinking, and general carousing, as well as carolling and kissing under bits of shrubbery. Some of this has been commercialised, but we are in the grip of light in December, the grip of a slight madness, an infectious jocularity that, sped by tunes and jingles and festooned trees, gives us the chance to overlook the year that's been, with its travails, and not yet begin to endure the winter and year before us. So, a ceiling, but also, a liminal moment, and, in some ways, a hinge - the door from one year to the next - and this makes it a magical portal - for only in December can you step across time in such a manner, as if from one Everest to another.