We’re getting closer to the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas! It’s the time of year where family and friends get together for festive meals, games and joy. Although restrictions aren’t as strict for the Christmas period, it’s inevitable that many will hold back on the socialising because of worry and fear of the virus. Maybe you’re a key worker and don’t feel comfortable mixing with your elderly relatives. Or maybe you’re stuck in your university dorm due to not being able to travel back home.
We know that dealing with loneliness isn’t easy, but when it gets to this time of year, loneliness is even harder. Christmas is like one giant hug from everyone you love over about five festive days! It’s the time known for spending it with others, that’s what makes the loneliness feel even greater. There are going to be people who are alone this year at Christmas, and whilst it’s not the easiest year to invite them over, there’s other ways we can help spread a little Christmas love in their lives.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, House Party, FaceTime, Messenger… the list of platforms where you can video chat goes on! When I was at university, I relied on video calls to stay in contact with my family and friends. I know it’s not the same as being there with the person, but it helps with loneliness so much.
Food and drink packages
With loneliness sometimes comes feelings of anxiety and depression, and this can mean some people don’t always cook and make good quality meals for themselves. Not just that, but being alone might mean you don’t fancy making a whole roast dinner just for yourself! If you know of someone who is going to be alone on Christmas, send over a little food and drink package of their favourite foods, or even an extra plate of roast turkey (don’t forget the pigs in blankets).
Make a Christmas film list
If you can’t be there in person for someone, be there by heart and research what films will be on during the day and write a list for them – if it’s for an elderly loved one then make sure to include channels and times the films are on. When I’m by myself, watching films is the best company and can take the edge off the loneliness! If you’re spending Christmas by yourself this year, then do a little research on Netflix and on TV. You can then prep yourself for a day of films and hot chocolate.
Join them for a virtual dinner
Thank god for Zoom, am I right?! Not only can you use it for work calls, but also to catchup with your loved ones. I feel as though Christmas dinner is the worst part of Christmas to spend alone, so make sure you call your family to join them whilst they’re eating too. It’s not quite the same (obviously) but it’s better than not being able to join at all!
Chat to your neighbours
If you know you have a lonely neighbour but they don’t feel comfortable coming round, it’s always a good idea to knock on their door and have a little chat with them. When the elderly are feeling lonely they always appreciate people making an effort to talk to them. This doesn’t have to be for long, but it reminds them that you’re only next door, and they’ll love the small doses of company at a respectful distance. Also, if you’re stuck in your uni dorm there must be someone else who is too! Lift your neighbour’s spirit and make them feel a little less lonely if they’re not at home.
Bring a spare chair
Usually at Christmas bringing a spare chair means fitting in an extra space for your neighbour, friend, or relative at the table. But instead this year, bring a spare chair and sit outside their house (whilst they sit in the porch). Bring your hot chocolate and cookies, play card games, and have a good old festive catch up for a couple of hours!