If you are spending Christmas alone this year, then quite simply, you are not alone.
Due to the sudden change to Tier 4 across London and the South East of England, lots of families have been forced to change their original five day amnesty at the last minute. On Saturday night, many of us would have made that difficult phone call to older family members to cancel our best-laid plans over the festive period.
According to the charity Campaign to End Loneliness, one in four adults expect to spend Christmas this year alone, and after the announcement, the numbers must have increased. These adults range from the elderly, the vulnerable and shielding to those who are unable to travel home to see their family. Regardless of age, there will be increasing feelings of isolation during a time that is synonymous with being with friends and family.
Whilst there are some people rejoicing at the idea of being alone, there are many who are not. Here are some ideas as well as charities you can to turn to during the festive period.
Volunteer this Christmas
If you are able to leave the house and volunteer, then you will be pleased to know that volunteering is not currently affected by the coronavirus tier levels. There are lots of ways that you can get involved in the community, from shopping for neighbours to making phone calls to those who are unable to leave their house at Christmas this year.
To find out what you can offer in your local area, head here, type in your postcode and see what volunteering opportunities are around in Surrey.
You can also sign up to the Christmas Together campaign. The NHS and Royal Voluntary Service have got together to promote volunteering to help combat loneliness.
If there is one thing that brings festive cheer it’s a traditional carol concert. As with most things this year, many concerts have been unable to go ahead. However there are plenty of concerts to enjoy from your armchair. Pour yourself a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate and settle down in the comfort of your own home to get into the Christmas Spirit.
Most Cathedrals around the country will be live streaming their carol concerts throughout December. Classical Music has compiled a list of Cathedrals taking part in online celebrations and concerts.
Technology this Christmas
While all the home workers are now completely au fait with online meetings, some older relatives might still be struggling. If you are desperate to talk to a relative over Zoom but they are still getting to grips with new technology, then Age UK Surrey are here to help.
Age UK Surrey said: “If you need digital help our Computer Drop-in Volunteers are offering a free telephone service arranged at a time and day that is mutually convenient. Whatever your question, we will have a volunteer who can help.”
Follow this link to find out how they can help someone you love to get in touch over the festive period, so even if you can’t physically be with them, you can be together virtually.
Young and alone: Mind
The charity Mind found that 25 to 34 year olds were twice as likely as people over 65 to have no one to spend Christmas with. The reasons for spending Christmas alone can vary. Mind are there to support those who are alone and coping with what can sometimes be a very difficult time. One person who turned to Mind last year at Christmas said: “It helped me to be on Mind’s online community in December. It was a nearly Christmas-free place. People knew that we all have to deal with a lot during this time of the year in our own worlds and it was peaceful just to talk.”
Mind have tips on how to deal with Christmas alone and how to be kind to yourself. Check out their website to find out more.
We all have been forced to make difficult decisions this year, and this can leave family or friends of any age alone. If you or someone you know is feeling isolated this Christmas, there are many supportive charities to turn to.
Just remember, even if you feel isolated, there are a whole load of people out there who are ready and willing to talk: you really are not alone this year.