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It’s the first of November, decorated trees are starting to appear in neighbours' windows, lights are being switched on in the town centre and carols are playing on the radio. It can only meant one thing, Christmas has officially started. For some people, Christmas cheer can’t come quickly enough, but for millions of others Christmas is their least favourite holiday of the year.
We wanted to find out the nation's least favourite thing about Christmas, and it turns out there are a lot of things people don't enjoy like brussels sprouts, the pressure to buy the right gift and washing up. But when we spoke to older people, it wasn’t the presents or effort of the day they were worried about, it was that they were on their own.
Every year, almost one million older people in the UK feel lonelier at Christmas*. This is a shocking statistic that we at Abbeyfield are trying to help by opening the doors of our houses and homes to older people in the community who would otherwise be on their own. Offering the chance to meet new friends, eat good food and take part in festive activities, Companionship at Christmas aims to make sure everyone has someone to spend Christmas with.
Charles and Brenda
Christmas was always a big event for Charles and Brenda, but when their children grew up and moved away they found themselves alone. Hoping to spend Christmas with others in the local community, Charles and Brenda reached out to their local council who recommended they join the festivities at Abbeyfield House, Stevenage.
“We’ve been coming to Abbeyfield for four years and every year it’s bigger and better.
“On Christmas morning Abbeyfield send a car to collect us and they drop us home in the evening. We don’t have to worry about anything.
“We have a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas crackers, entertainment and even a gift. The only rule is you must be wearing your Christmas hat before you can have your dinner, everyone is encouraged to get involved.
“Abbeyfield really go above and beyond at Christmas, without them we’d be sat at home on our own wishing the day away.”
How can you help this Christmas?
The events, activities and meals offered during Companionship at Christmas can only be provided for free thanks to the goodwill of volunteers and the generosity of donations we receive from people like you.
If you would like to help give older people the best Christmas yet please volunteer or donate to our appeal.