A Community Christmas

December is the darkest of Harris months, the sun barely rising over the horizon before it disappears again for another long winter’s night. It’s a challenging season of the year, often beset by storms, in which we’re tempted to retreat into the comfort of our island homes, kept cosy with peat fires blazing and perhaps a dram to hand.
Yet despite the lack of light, and the scattering of friends and family across a myriad of tiny villages, we still thrive as a community. Local groups and organisations, so full of committed and kind volunteers, work hard to create fun events that help to draw us out from our hermitage to gather in the warmth and good company of our fellow islanders. And as this festive time of year comes around there is much to celebrate together as Harris continues to move forward with confidence.
As a local business, set in the heart of Harris, with our work determined to be by, for and with the people of this island, we very much see the Isle Of Harris Distillery as an integral part of the wider community and we’re committed to playing our part in fostering and maintaining the close-knit bonds which tie us all together in this remote part of the world.

So in this spirit, and that of the season, we’re delight to be spending our first Christmas as a Company with those who live and work around us. The Tarbert Christmas tree now stands proudly in the distillery grounds, organised by the Harris Voluntary Service and a welcome sight to those coming and going from the village. Our own tree is now decorated inside too, somewhat smaller but no less jolly!

Tonight, some of the team are heading an hour’s drive north to the main Lewis town of Stornoway to bring our Isle Of Harris Gin to the proceedings, adding some rather fine spirit to the Christmas Lights Launch and Viking Parade. The following day our own Tarbert Christmas Parade takes place, with the Bodach na Nollaig, Santa Claus himself, taking time off from his croft and toy workshop to lead the local children through the streets before heading for the distillery to sit by the fire and distribute a few early presents to all the good girls and boys.
The distillery will remain open up until Christmas Eve and we invite you all to come in for a visit if you’re nearby, there’s a fire always burning and delicious soups on the stove to take off the winter’s chill. Kate in the Canteen has created a delicious distillery punch, our shop is full of great gifts from local crafts folk and our Isle of Harris Gin and Apothecary goods are well stocked if you need a special something to give to your nearest and dearest on the 25th.
Meantime, wherever you are this coming season, we hope you and your own community are enjoying this wonderful time of year and coming together in the same island spirit as we are here in Harris, full of good tidings and wishing goodwill to all.

Harris Winter images © Ian Lawson www.ianlawson.com / Main image © Peter Kwasniewski 

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