I get so excited each year to bring out the tinsel and the twinkly lights, but there’s something to be said too for putting it all away and starting the new year decluttered, with a clean slate. Add to that a pinch of snow remaining on the ground, and all the elements of what I love about this time of year are in place. The best part of all? The days are getting longer!

My sister, Shannon, bro-in-law, Andy, and niece and nephew, Addy and Andrew, are here this week, so it’s time for another round of gift exchanging and happy kids. Last time the Smith clan was here, we hiked Cedar Tree Neck and hid “dinosaur eggs” — white rocks — in “nests” on the beach. Hopefully the weather will allow for some outdoor adventures once again.

Paul and Linda Condlin have migrated south for the winter, settling once again in Florida to wait out the colder months. Luckily, they have found a bar that plays Patriots games, so no missing out on football. Hmmm — watching football in tee-shirts — that must be nice. Hard to believe it’s the norm for some folks. Watching last week’s game on TV, it was tough to see the action through the fog of everyone’s visible breath. Enjoy it, you two.

Also off for the month are Jim and Nicki Miller. After visiting with family throughout Massachusetts for the holidays, these two also pointed their GPS toward the Sunshine State. January, and the livin’ is easy. Meanwhile, Denise Solomon has made her way back to the Rock to hang out with the Miller felines, so I trade one set of peeps for another for a bit.

I must beseech you, readers, to send me some news. It’s a bit cold outside to go seeking you all out on the streets this time of year. If I’ve noticed one trend in my time writing this column, it is that when I get an email or phone message, you often preface your report with “I don’t know if this is news, exactly,” or, “If you need something extra this week.” Well, let me tell you, it is news! And I absolutely need it every week! I get so excited when you guys send me stuff. I love to report on upcoming events and things of that nature, but I’m exponentially more thrilled to share your day-to-day accomplishments, birthday parties, family trips (even to Woods Hole!), visits from off-Island friends (you wouldn’t believe what a kick they get out of seeing their names in our local paper), class reunions, bird sightings, visits from the tooth fairy. You name it; I want to report it. So don’t be coy — your news is what I am here to share. Please share! [End PSA.]

Attention all equestrian types: The Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, January 10, at 6:30 pm, at the Agricultural Hall. Among business to be discussed will be the planning of 2013 events. All are invited. For further info, visit www.mvhorsecouncil.org.

We have a slew of New Year’s babies to send out regards to this month. Happiest of days to Deborah Elias, who celebrates January 4, to Jake Sylvia and Dee Laird, who celebrate January 5, to Alex Morrison and Lindsay Medeiros who celebrate January 6, to Katie Jordan who celebrates January 7, and to Kristin Warriner who celebrates January 9. All the best for a lovely day.