Merry Christmas everyone We hope the festive season brings you cheer!

If you haven't ventured there yet, I'd recommend visiting the Christmas forum. There you'll find a countdown to the big day; pictures of trees from users' houses; chatter about Christmas ads, good and bad; food and present ideas; and much more. The forum has been hopping with more posts this year than in any other year! A special mention should be given to the Mods who have had some interesting ideas to keep conversation going throughout the year, including Rudolph Day (a mini celebration of Christmas on the 25th of each month).

One thing that many people wish for (provided they don't have to travel anywhere) is a white Christmas. The Weather forum is the one to watch as we get closer to the 25th and models become more accurate. Will we get a white Christmas? They're making predictions and checking them twice over there, and it's interesting to see them pour over charts and graphs.

If you're yet to make a start on the Christmas shopping, or you're hitting that point when you need to spend less to make it to your next payday, the Bargain Alerts forum is a great help. It's perfect for highlighting deals on goodies to keep you munching away through the Christmas break if nothing else!

For those of you who have been tasked with picking up something gaming related, the various gaming communities are on hand to help with your queries. We've seen a couple of Fortnite related threads pop up in the General Gaming forum, while both the Xbox and PlayStation forums have threads dedicated to highlighting bargains. Meanwhile, the Xbox forum has launched its annual 'Xbox for Christmas / Dummies' Thread.

To help get into the Christmas spirit, several Boardsies in the Athletics & Running Events forum took part in the 5K Jingle Bells event in Phoenix Park. It sounds like they had a great time and some short write-ups and thoughts can be read here:

The Dublin City Marathon is behind us, but our novices are now ready for more. There is a graduates plan available, and users are invited to join in the discussion, spur each other on, and prepare for more running and events in the weeks and months ahead.

An unusual entry from the Forum Games forum this month. The community there has started working on a Werewolf Wiki dedicated to the history of the forum and games that have taken place. You can read through the Wiki here:

The Ladies Who Lift Workshop was mentioned in the last update, but took place shortly after it was posted. COH hosted a group of complete beginners to lifting and introduced them to warmups, exercises and more. It was another successful outing and hopefully encourages these users to keep lifting.

The Fantasy Sports Arena may be busy at the moment with a congested fixture list and people tinkering with their teams to try to counteract rotations and rest periods, but they're still making time for community spirit. The community has been running some AMAs to get to know people and their fantasy premier league performances. If you're happy to take part, you can sign up here: The AMAs (and general FPL advice) are available to read here:

An interesting challenge being set by the Triathlon / Duathlon / Adventure Racing forum is Sanity Clause 2018. This challenges users to run for 30 minutes every day in December. That's it! There's no minimum pace or distance, but you do have to do it every day. It's harder than it sounds, but there's only been one drop so far. It's an interesting idea and something that you could incorporate into your own life; you won't be able to join the challenge, but I won't tell them that you're unofficially taking part if you don't!

Speaking of challenges, regulars of the Creative Writing forum took part in NaNoWriMo 2018. This challenge entails writing 50,000 words over the course of November. It doesn't seem like anyone hit the target goal, but it got some users into the habit of writing again, helped others develop ideas that they can work on from here on out, and others managed to hit impressive totals or finish off smaller projects. You can read about their experiences here:

Now for something completely different. Coles posted some finds to the Archaeology Seen & Found thread. It is believed that the blade is Derravaragh Chert and dates from 4000-4200 BC, though the experts still have to examine and confirm. All their finds have been handed over to the National Museum.

As the year draws to a close, it's a good chance to reflect on the year just gone. Every day, we're blown away by some of the talent, creativity, determination, humour, and goodness that's on display across a multitude of forums. We like to dip in and out of the Photography forum and the POTW threads are a constant source of amazement. If you'd like to catch up on all of the POTW as well as the honourable mentions, here is a quick and easy search query:

Some users are comparing where they are right now to the goals that they set out at the beginning of the year. The Athletics & Running forum challenged its members to complete 1,000 miles over the course of the year and you can see how they did here:; the Golfing forum is sharing how their year was:; and the Fitness forum is reflecting on its goals. But there are many other forums doing similar and it might be good to set up a similar thread in your forum for 2019.

It's not just personal goals and years that are being revisited. The Gaming forum has started its nomination process for this year's Game Awards. You can check out the categories and add games for consideration here: Over on the musical side of entertainment, the Alternative & Indie and Rock & Metal forums have been debating the best releases of the year.

We'll look to cover some 2019 focused threads, such as resolutions, goals, giving up habits, and taking up things in January. But one post that's worth mentioning comes from PTH2009 who worked on a spreadsheet of announced 2019 gigs. There may be some dates to add to your own diary for next year.

Before we wrap up, it's worth pointing out that the Christmas season can be tough for some people and families. Please remember that you can get help and support from several places which you will find listed here.

We'll finish up with some general site news to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop. We have reviewed and updated our policy and approach to data erasures under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). You can see the reasoning and the approach that will be taken from this point on here: . We have also announced that we will be removing old skins in the near future; these have been unsupported for some time and may cause issues when updates are rolled out, particularly when things are being tested. They can also conjure up bugs of their own, which are harder to replicate and resolve on our end. You can read more about that particular announcement here: .

That's it for this month...and this year! Hope ye have a great Christmas and a peaceful and happy new year!