This Christmas is going to be a bit of an unusual one for me. it’s the first time in my entire life that I will be spending the day alone.
I was due to be going to Manchester this morning with my wife to spend Christmas with my sisters in law, my mum in law, my small nephew and my sister in laws partner but am no longer doing so. Just over a week ago I developed a cold and have been coughing and sneezing a lot but it now feels like it has developed into some kind of chest infection.
Apart from feeling physically crap, my mum in law has Emphysema and my nephew is only about a year old and I didn’t want to risk passing anything on to either them or the rest of the family so after a lot of heated discussion with my wife, I decided to stay at home on my own. My wife was extremely torn and not happy at leaving me on my own but I pretty much insisted she go as she doesn’t get to see her family that often and I didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s Christmas.
This post isn’t intended to be about me bemoaning my situation, on the contrary, I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that in 40 years, this is the first Christmas I won’t be spending with family. It has however, made me reflect and think about those who aren’t so fortunate and in particular those with mental health issues that lead to them being isolated and I wanted to use it as an opportunity to highlight some of the work that is being done by charities and community organisations over Christmas to help people feel less isolated and alone.
It would also be great if you know of anything going on in your local area to leave a comment and link or link on the Twitter and Facebook posts as these are just a few of the things that are probably going on around the country.
Some Stats on People Spending Christmas Alone
The mental health charity Mind, published research in 2016 which showed some saddening statistics around different age groups that are spending Christmas alone.
- One in ten Millennials [25-34 y.o.] have no one to spend Christmas with compared to one in 20 older people [65+] (10% vs. 5%)
- Half of Millennials (48%) worry about their finances at Christmas compared to only one in five older people (18%)
- A third of Millennials (35%) dwell on things they failed to achieve in the year, compared to one in ten older people (9%)
“Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, has today released research which suggests that Millennials (25 to 34 year olds) are twice as likely as people aged 65 and over to have no one to spend Christmas with. The general population poll¹ of 2,037 people also found that almost half of Millennials worry about their finances at Christmas, compared to only one in five older people.”
How Charities and Community Groups are Helping to Try and Make Sure People Feel Less Isolated This Christmas
Community Christmas believes that no older person in the UK should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be.
Communities are encouraged to provide companionship to older people on Christmas Day by running a community Christmas Lunch event, joining up with others at a local pub or restaurant, popping round for tea and cake, perhaps organizing a film viewing or anything else that can be enjoyed by all those that take part. This should be a chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends creating bonds in the community that last well beyond the single day.
You can find more information about Community Christmas a location finder to see if there is an event near you here
Churches Together in England
Premier believes that no one should have to spend Christmas Alone if they don’t want to, and for the 6th year running, we’re aiming to help people across the UK to go to places so that they can spend their Christmas with others
You can find an interactive map containing details of events happening tomorrow here
Pubs Inviting People For Christmas Lunch
There are initiatives at a various pubs across the UK to invite people who are alone to go along for Christmas dinner.
The Alexandra pub have been running their “Don’t be alone for Christmas” campaign for the last 7 years offering initially a free pint but extending over the last couple of years to Christmas lunch as well.
Another pub, the Crown & Anchor in Bromley is running a similar initiative specifically for elderly people and also offering a free lunch.
Other Support Services Over Christmas
In addition to local events, there are various support services which are available over the Christmas period. Some suggested services can be found on the Mind Christmas Support page
I know it’s only a day until Christmas but would really appreciate any shares / retweets etc. It would be nice if even one person who might benefit sees that there are options for those who are alone.