There's a house in the street opposite which is laden with Christmas lights. It has snowmen, reindeer, Christmas trees, stars and bells, all twinkling and flashing in technicolour. Yes, it's tacky. But when I came past it on the bus this evening, the lights were like a defiant shout against the cold and dark, and they made me smile. Christmas (as the pre-Christian winter celebration), should be all about light and warmth, sticking your tongue out to the dark and saying that you aren't afraid of it - that you aren't afraid that Spring will never come. Even now, with electricity, central heating and satellite weather forecasts, I think we still need that.