In a year where a lot of us have spent an unprecedented amount of time at home, with bubbles reducing our contact with a sizeable chunk of friends and family, the arrival of Christmas can be both something to celebrate and something to dread. Especially if those bubbles are still in place by the time the festive season is under way. So, what can we do to ensure we enjoy this Christmas either alone or within our bubbles? And more importantly, what can we do to help those we know will be alone?
Christmas is traditionally a time of giving. Giving a thoughtful gift shows the recipient how much we care. And this year especially showing people we care has never been so important. Receiving something you know someone has put a lot of thought and effort into raises your spirits and your smile, and makes you feel special. A feeling quite a few of us could do with after this very long and somewhat lonely year.
1, Photos and photobooks are obviously a lovely way to savour the memories made in a year where family events were so few. If you managed to share a few lovely moments together, capture them in a frame and send it to someone you know will love to remember them.
2, If you know of someone who will be spending Christmas time alone, then a lovely way to help brighten their home as well as their day is to send flowers or scented candles. Go as big as you can afford to fill the room with colour, scent and the reminder that they are thought of and loved.
3, Sending biscuits or muffins that the children have helped to make shows the recipient that they are worthy of your time and effort. Biscuits cut in Christmas shapes, placed in a suitable container and wrapped in ribbon is not only a joy to receive but also something that will last throughout the season, depending on how many you put in there of course.
4, One last gift idea for those who have spent, or will be spending, a lot of time alone, is an invitation. Once we are able to start mixing again, perhaps the promise of a party or day out together when the time allows could be just the thing to make someone smile.
For now though, while we are keeping our distance to keep ourselves healthy and avoiding contact to avoid spreading infection, how about some of these ideas instead of a hug…
1, Hold a virtual party – Zoom has really helped us as a nation this year. Not only did businesses manage to keep colleagues face to face, it helped us see our friends and families in a time where everything seemed a bit uncertain. So how about holding a virtual Christmas party for your friends and family? The real beauty is that everyone gets to have the party they want. Party outfit or Christmas pyjamas. Glass of fizz or cup of tea. Invite your treasured friends and family and raise a festive glass or cup to each other.
2, Listen to or tell a virtual story – This is especially lovely for grandparents and grandchildren who aren’t able to see each other, whether due to the pandemic or not. Choose a traditional Christmas story, or just a family favourite, and settle down to listen with a hot chocolate and cookie.
3, Have a virtual film night – Let the children decide on a Christmas film to share together and snuggle up with some popcorn. Even though you might not be sharing a sofa, you can all share the same comedy and festive moments.
So despite a year of feeling lonely, there are ways in which we can all pull together to reach out, make someone feel cared about, and offer a virtual hug. In a year where personal contact has been so dramatically reduced, this time of year especially doesn’t have to be spent feeling alone.