Christmas is a time when many of us get together with friends and family. We eat food, watch repeats on TV and give each other gifts. It might not always be wonderful but generally we spend the day with people who care about us.
For some people however, Christmas is not fun, festive and full of love. They face spending what should be a happy time of the year alone. I was particularly struck by the story of James Gray, 85 who after spending a decade of Christmas days alone decided to put an advert in the paper asking for someone to share Christmas dinner with. This was picked up by the press and now James is receiving cards and has lots of offers for Christmas.
James is not alone in his situation. Age UK estimates that almost half a million over 65 year olds, will spend Christmas alone. Loneliness is not just something that affects older people; it can hit anyone at any time during their lives and at Christmas the horrible feelings of loneliness can reach a peak.
It’s awful to think of people feeling this way but we’re not powerless. We can do something about it. We know that just having another person call or pop in can make a very real difference to someone who is feeling lonely. This Christmas, if you think someone you know might be feeling lonely then pick up the phone, take them some mince pies or even invite them to join you for Christmas dinner. It could be the greatest gift you give this year.