AS parliamentarians prepare to set off for Christmas recess, the usual festivities and jolly banter we expect from the occasion were in short supply in the chamber at FMQs.

There were no Christmas puns or good-natured jibes about which party leader is most likely to be on Santa’s naughty list.

Omicron, aside from being a significant threat to public health and an all-round menace, is also a bit of a buzz kill.

I long for the days of Willie Rennie in his wee Christmas jumper and the light-hearted gossip about which MSPs have been caught smooching under the mistletoe.

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The only sign that Christmas is just around the corner came from the always stylish Christine Grahame, who was sporting a sequined top and one of her infamous oversized brooches. Appropriately, Thursday’s adornment was a giant martini glass. Pour me one while you're at it, Christine.

Douglas Ross asked about self-isolation rules. The Scottish Tories have been pushing for the 10-day self-isolation period to be reduced if somebody tests negative twice.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says self-isolation will change 'when benefits outweigh risks'

"The Government has already adapted its position on these rules, so will the First Minister now go further, and make these necessary changes?’’ he asked.

"I think this is one of the most important issues that the Government is grappling with now and over the days to come. In short – yes, we will make changes, just as soon as the public health advice says that the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks of doing so," replied the First Minister.

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She went on to say that these issues were being discussed with scientific advisors on a daily basis, but right now – given the "very fragile" stage we are at with Omicron we have to be careful with changes to self-isolation rules to we don’t "compound the problem".

Douglas Ross said the First Minister was being too cautious in her approach, and that the evidence was there to bring in the changes now.

"These rules, at the moment, right now, are leading to a shortage of workers in our vital services," he added.

Douglas Ross went on to cite clinical advisers to the UK Government who have endorsed changes to self-isolation rules. He also spoke about a Scottish study published yesterday, which says that Omicron is "substantially less likely to result in Covid-19 hospitalisation than Delta".

The First Minister replied: "I’m not dismissing the views of [UK Government clinical advisers] but I think most people would accept that the views I need to listen most carefully to are the clinical advisers to the Scottish Government. We are basing our very careful considerations on the advice that we are being given."

As the two continued to debate the point, I found myself wishing that I’d asked for a crystal ball in my letter to Santa. The uncertainty that has plagued this year has been one of the worst parts of it. But I don’t envy the politicians who are tasked with making all these decisions on our behalf.

I might not agree with everything they do or every judgement they make, but I’m eternally grateful that it’s not my burden.

This Christmas, the only decision I have to make is whether it’s worth getting changed out of pyjamas for my scaled-down Christmas dinner.

Whatever you are doing and however you are celebrating, I hope you have a safe and peaceful Christmas with those you love.