We are entering the time of year when shops, television and billboards all proclaim that this is a time to celebrate with family and friends and for many people it is just that.
However, for others it is just the opposite. The tinsel and endless Christmas songs just fill them with the horror of spending yet another Christmas alone. For others still, it will be the first Christmas that they have had to spend alone because they have lost a lifelong partner or friend.
So, what can we do to help? Firstly, be open to smiling at people in the street and stopping for a little chat when you go on a walk along the beach. Maybe you could check if your neighbours have plans for Christmas. If they don’t, you could invite them round for a cup of tea and a mince pie, or suggest they might like to come and see the Christmas movie or the Queen’s speech with you. A small gesture can mean a lot.
If you are the one dreading Christmas, start planning now. What is to stop you from deciding what sort of day you would like it to be within the confines of the possible? Choose to cook yourself a lovely dinner or buy a posh ready meal that you will really enjoy.
Is there a good book you have been meaning to read? Start it on Christmas Day and indulge in a day of immersing yourself in it. You could binge on your favourite box set in catch-up TV snuggled under a duvet on the settee. Go for a walk along the seafront and see how many people you can wish a Happy Christmas.
If you are missing loved ones, why not get out your photo albums and remember all the good times. Relive those happy moments. I once heard someone describe grief as the opposite side of love, which I found helpful.
Don’t forget that the Samaritans and Silverline are there 365 days of the year for you and you can always call them. For the Samaritans call 116123 - calls are free. For Silverline call 0800 4 70 80 90 - calls are free from a landline. Call 0300 4 70 80 90 on a mobile, charged at a local rate.
A lot lies in our attitude to the day. Make some plans, so that whether you are alone or with others, you can make it the best day possible. Have a look at our Ageing Well website www.ageingwelltorbay.com for details of what is on around the Bay or get in touch with your community builder to see what is happening over the Christmas period in your area. You could even offer to help make something happen!
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