The First Minister Alex Salmond has today issued his Christmas message, highlighting Scotland's spirit of community as a national asset.
"As everyone makes their final preparations for Christmas, and get ready to be with their family and friends, I want to extend my best wishes to all of you.
As well as being a time of celebration, Christmas is a time when it is particularly important to think about those who may be facing hardship or loneliness.
In Scotland we have a shared sense of the common weal, of our collective responsibility to each other, empathy, perhaps it is the best thing of all about Scotland. Our spirit of community is a national asset at all times, but it is very, very important during the festive period, and during times of economic uncertainty. I know that many of you will be spending time over the festive period to help people in need and I thank all of you who are helping to bring Christmas cheer where it is most needed.
I also want to pay a particular tribute to the many people, especially in our emergency services and our armed forces, for whom Christmas is not a holiday at all. Your commitment and dedication is appreciated all year round, but is especially valued at Christmas, and that goes across the range of public services, people who work when the rest of us are on holiday.
So whether you are working or partying, whether at home or overseas, on behalf of the Scottish Government I wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas!"
The First Minister's message is available as an audio clip from: