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Some secrets we carry, some secrets we spill.

So, when the snow comes in on the cold wind and the daylight hours seem to pass too quickly while the hours of darkness seem to slow to a crawling pace, and the clock on the wall seems to tick sullenly and you drag your feet along the frozen street and your heart is as battered and scuffed as your winter boots, then the ache to be at home is at its keenest.

And you pull the blankets tighter and you fear cold hands like you fear cold hearts in summer, and you stare at the blazing colours in the January sky and wonder why nature is so cruel to offer flaming incandescent colours that blaze but offer no warmth, and the wind howls, the building shivers and then in the still of morning there is the scrape-scrape of snow being shovelled on the street, and you don't want to stir from the warmth but you do anyway, anchored emotionally in home, the household, the only place to be at ease.

At night you watch TV, the doors closed, the curtains drawn, and you're coddled and pleased with that and relieved to be connected to the wide world outside, open to the transforming and recreative power of drama, comedy, the camera's observations, the putting on of masks and even if you have retreated from the harsh terrain outside there is self-delight in knowing that you are not in isolation but connected and there's more delight, made delicious by winter's cold circumstance, in things perceived through this window on the world.

It is no secret that much of the meaning of the Christmas spirit and our feeling for the familiar of winter experience is anchored in home and hearth. Symbols and emblems to signify things are derived from commercialization of Christmas in Victorian England. (That's why there is so much Dickens on TV at Christmas.) The idea of hearth is at its core – a fireside is everything. For us, with fewer real hearths or firesides, the TV is the replacement hearth. What we sit by and enjoy for its warmth is the TV and what emanates from it.

It should not be a secret that television offers so many pleasures. It is warmth, it is distraction, it is enlightenment. Through all the seasons, this column is written for you, those of you who enjoy all aspects of TV, from the fabulously dark dramas to the frivolity of wedding-dress shows. It is not written to gain favour with the Canadian TV racket or to be perceived as part of the conformist culture of that racket.

It is a fact that watching Four Weddings Canada can be as educational about this country as any hour of national news or any documentary. And it is also true that the top television drama is the defining storytelling medium of the start of this, the 21st century.

So when the holidays pass and the snow comes in again on the cold wind and you feel battered and seek solace in what TV offers, that's okay. Enjoy everything. Have happy carefree holidays and if you tipple, don't topple. Happy Christmas, see you next week.

This column's list of top TV in 2014 will appear in the next few days. Meanwhile, vital information for the next few days: The Queen's Christmas message airs on Thursday, CBC at noon, repeated CBC NN, 3 p.m. Also on Thursday, HBO Canada repeats the entire four part Olive Kitteridge miniseries, starting at 5 p.m. It's a don't-miss masterpiece.