For many women, the festive period is overshadowed by fear. Women's refuges and charities report a spike in domestic violence cases every December, when alcohol, money worries and enforced family time can increase the risk of abuse.
To raise awareness of the epidemic, the domestic violence charity Refuge has created a series of reversible poems that give voice to the experiences of women and children who suffer domestic violence at Christmas.
When read from beginning to end, they're positive stories that mirror most people's Christmas experience, but when read backwards they tell a chilling tale of domestic abuse. In one reading, for instance, "Dad's traditional punch" is a perfectly innocuous festive drink; read the other way, it carries a far more sinister meaning.
Today – Human Rights Day (10th December), which also marks the end of UN Women's 16 Days Of Activism against violence against women and girls – couldn't be a more fitting time to highlight this crucial issue.
Two women are killed by their current or former partner every week in England and Wales alone, according to the charity, with some police forces reporting that as many as 54% of the calls they receive during December relate to domestic violence, compared to 38% for the rest of the year.
Sandra Horley CBE, Refuge's chief executive, described domestic abuse as a life and death issue, and the biggest scourge affecting women and children in this country today. "Domestic violence happens all year round – including at Christmas. We want women to know that no matter what time of year, no one should suffer in silence and they should turn to us for support."