We are in the final straight and the sprint is on to the finish line with Christmas. The recent snowy weather has made us feel festive and I am sure your kids are bouncing off the walls.
Christmas is a magical time for the family, but for some people it can be an incredibly lonely time of year. Have you ever spent a few days in the house and got “cabin fever”? Imagine having that feeling tenfold and that is the situation for some people every single day.
We automatically assume that it is the elderly that suffer most with loneliness. This is simply not the case, it can affect any age and gender. Young teens can find it difficult to make friends and feel isolated. Single parents who have no-one to turn to after the kids have gone to bed. Middle aged adults may feel that they are at a point of mid-life crisis, in an unfulfilling job or unhappy family life.
Then there is Christmas to deal with, some people feel the pressure to be happy and have to put on a brave face. The adverts on TV at this time of the year give the impression of happy families going about Christmas, all bubbly and bouncy. We know that it is just TV, but it does tug on the heart strings.
If you are feeling lonely and not wanting to join in, the comments of “stop being a bah humbug” or “here comes the Grinch” do not help. Talking to that person instead of ribbing them may unearth signs that something is wrong.
There could be many reasons why. Has your sibling recently returned home from university for the holidays? Have you asked them how university life is for them? Does your partner work away a lot? Being at home at Christmas may seem like the perfect antidote, until they must go away again and leave the family. Has someone recently had a relationship breakdown? Watching people play happy families is really difficult for someone in that situation to deal with.
Helping those that will be alone
Not everyone wants to be alone at Christmas, but some have no choice. And this is where you can make a difference. There are many ways to spread some festive cheer to those people
- Pop over the road and just check on someone to see if they are ok. Do they need some shopping doing?
- Offer them a chair at your Christmas table. When you are cooking for 20, is one more going to hurt?
- A random act of kindness. If you see an elderly person on their own in the supermarket, buy them some flowers, offer to pay for their shopping. I guarantee it will make them smile, and guess what, you will feel good about yourself too.
- If you cannot be with a relative who is alone on Christmas Day, call them.
- Volunteer and lend a hand at the Local Care home.
Tackling the loneliness issue
The awareness of loneliness has been highlighted in the press, more so at this time of year. Charities and celebrities also recognise this and want to make a difference. A few examples of this are:
Age UK have launched their “no one should have no one campaign”. The accompanying film, Just another day, follows an older man’s unchanging daily routine, of which Christmas is just another day.
Sarah Millican is tackling loneliness on Christmas Day by getting people who are alone or feeling alone to chat to each other on Twitter with the hashtag #joinme
And, a charity close to our hearts at Vigiles, The Marmalade Trust are taking people who would otherwise be on their own, out for lunch on Christmas Day.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas