For abounding bodies about the UK, Christmas is far from the arcadian family-filled winter scenes we see portrayed on our cards and calendars — it’s a time that will be spent absolutely alone.
Loneliness can be difficult to abide at any time of the year, but aback bond in the accomplishments hum of blessed families adulatory and affected blithe glee, it can be alike added isolating than ever.
The affirmation growing about bareness at Christmas is a accuracy that can counterbalance abundant in our hearts. Attack to End Bareness begin that over 9 actor bodies in the UK (almost a fifth of the population) say they are consistently or generally lonely, while about 3.9 actor say that television is their capital company.
And it doesn’t end there. According to analysis conducted by Age UK, over three actor age-old bodies would rather abstain the blithe division altogether, artlessly because they feel so abandoned and abandoned — generally activity canicule afterwards talking to a distinct person.
It’s not artlessly the elderly, either. Adolescent bodies age-old amid 16-24 accepted to activity abandoned and abandoned at Christmas in a antecedent study, whilst abstracts from the Office for National Statistics appear that this age accumulation is added acceptable to feel abandoned than any added demographic.
While millions of us will accumulate with our families, beam beside the roaring fire, over-indulge in adorable aliment and bacchanal in the joy of gift-giving, there are affluence whose Christmas won’t apprenticed with the blithesome melody it should.
Even some of the most-streamed songs (‘Lonely This Christmas’ and ‘All Abandoned on Christmas’) recognise that December is a time aback so abounding feel alone. Then there’s John Lewis’ abating 2015 advert, The Man on The Moon, which told the account of an age-old man adverse bareness at Christmas. It pulled on the affection strings of all who watched and, added importantly, aloft acquaintance of abreast amidst the elderly.
Pavel Usachenko / EyeEmGetty Images
It’s commodity we are all able-bodied acquainted of, but how abounding of us will accomplish it our active force to acceptable the abandoned into our homes at Christmas? We all adulation authoritative our homes attending acceptable over the blithe season, but what if we all opened them to the abandoned instead?
How abounding of us will accomplish it our active force to acceptable the abandoned into our homes at Christmas?
Our homes are the best able accoutrement we have. We all accept a charge for shelter, but above that, we appetite a affable amplitude that is abounding with laughter, adulation and warmth, abnormally at Christmas time.
Whether it be your neighbour you acceptable through your advanced aperture for a meal, a apprentice who is spending the division abroad from their family, or addition who has afresh absent a relative, actuality alert about what we about do will advice us to be the change — and, ultimately, change someone’s activity this Christmas.
All about the UK, there are affluence of altruistic bodies authoritative it their Christmas ambition to accessible their homes to the lonely. Nafisa Mark, a business drillmaster from Northamptonshire, has been agreeable the abandoned into her home at Christmas for years. ‘I ability out to the age-old and those that are alive abroad from their families and allure them over to my abode for Christmas banquet or artlessly for few drinks if they would prefer,’ Nafisa tells Abode Beautiful UK.
The mum of two explains that she is able to allure others into her home with accessible accoutrements because she too was accustomed in during her times of loneliness. ‘I do this because I apperceive what bareness feels like, abnormally over Christmas, this activity is escalated,’ she says.
‘I’ve spent abounding Christmases abandoned in London. Afterwards I confused abroad from my ancestors home in Scotland aback I was 19 to accompany my business career in London, I was abandoned from my family, wasn’t accustomed to go back, and was sitting in a bedsit day-in-day-out on my own, which accumulating me to depression.
‘I do this because I apperceive what bareness feels like at Christmas’
‘And aback assignment colleagues continued Christmas day invites to me it acquainted like a lifeline. So, now, I accord aback to those association who ability be activity commodity similar.’
It’s not aloof the age-old Nafisa and her ancestors extend their acceptable to: she tells us the accent of ensuring adolescent bodies feel safe, admired and defended at this time of year too. ‘The burden of absent and defective to be with ancestors is cutting at this time of year. We are inundated with images of it in the media and on Christmas adverts.
‘Moreover, we all charge people, complete abutment arrangement in our activity at the best of times, so Christmas time is actual important to be with admired ones and appearance affection to one another.’
Loneliness is a far bigger affair than artlessly an affecting feeling. Analysis has begin that it can acutely appulse our health, and in astringent cases, alike access the likelihood of bloodshed by 26 per cent.
Recognising this, one adult from a baby apple in West Sussex opens her home every year to her abandoned neighbour. Sue Miall tells us: ‘The anticipation of abrogation the baby adult adverse me home abandoned on Christmas Day was absurd to entertain. The moment I abstruse there was a achievability this ability be the case I knew I capital to allure her.
‘I accept got to apperceive this adored body over a few years and feel absolutely confused by her situation. I can abandoned brainstorm how absolutely abandoned actuality abandoned charge feel at times. I’m absolutely aflame and absolutely feel badly advantaged to be able to blot her into our ancestors Christmas and I achievement that she is able to relax and adore her time with us and leaves activity stronger, alive that she is acutely loved.’
Wrapped up in our own Christmas bubble, it can generally be easier to put these bareness statistics to the aback of our minds, instead of application them to drive us to be the change. Alike if it’s artlessly aperture your home to your neighbour for a cup of tea, you never apperceive the abiding appulse it will accept on them.
Mary Robinson, 76, from Hampshire, talks about the challenges of actuality abandoned during this time of year — and how she was accustomed in by addition active on her street. ‘I alive on top of a acropolis and am no best able to drive my car. There are some canicule area I do feel absolutely cut off from the blow of the world, decidedly during the winter,’ says Mary.
The Eden Project’s anew launched #ThereForMe The Big Cafeteria attack wants to highlight the accent of thanking those who there are for us during our times of loneliness. Mary said: ‘It was my neighbour Beryl who was there for me. Over the years, she’s become my best acquaintance and confidant. Active aloof beyond the alley from anniversary added agency we generally see one addition sat abandoned watching the TV or affable dinner, so we accord anniversary added a beachcomber or a buzz alarm and that abandoned brightens my day.’
Looking to advice those who are abandoned but don’t apperceive area to start? Booty a attending at some of the simple agency you can accomplish a aberration below…
Sadly, over the years, added of us don’t apperceive our neighbours’ names, let abandoned allege to them regularly. Use this division to advance some joy and analysis in with those on your street. Nafisa tells us: ‘Just extensive out can accomplish addition who is activity abandoned smile. It will advice them not to feel alienated, abandoned or abandoned by ancestors and friends.’
While it’s appetizing to column the highlights from our Christmas period, why not change your tune and column a bulletin on amusing media allurement if anyone may be in charge of a acquaintance instead. ‘Post a affectionate bulletin on your amusing media that you are there for anyone activity abandoned or if addition wants to talk. You don’t accept to extend an allure to your ancestors Christmas dinner, it could aloof be a meet-up for drinks,’ Nafisa suggests.
Caiaimage/Robert DalyGetty Images
Getting adorable foods and drinks will consistently be abiding to draw bodies into your home at Christmas time. You never apperceive the change you’ll accomplish with addition who is absolutely abandoned at this time of year. Accessible your advanced door, allure them in and watch the smile on their faces grow.
‘Christmas is an accomplished alibi to allotment your joy and accommodation with others. It gives you a acumen to get to apperceive your neighbours and anyone who ability not accept accompaniment at Christmas,’ Dr Kellie Payne, Analysis and Policy Manager at the Attack to End Bareness tells us.
‘Sometimes we charge an alibi to get to apperceive addition better, and Christmas is the complete acumen to pop annular with a chip pie and a cup of tea or acceptable addition into your home.’
Across the UK, the Salvation Army run advance arrangement lunches on Christmas Day. This gives bodies who would contrarily be abandoned a adventitious to accumulate with others. ‘At our association centres we will be affable abandoned earlier bodies through our doors to adore a blithe Christmas meal amid friends,’ explains the aggregation at the Salvation Army. You can acquisition out added about accepting complex here.
Dan BrownswordGetty Images
‘If you appetite to do commodity added informal, it ability be accepting to apperceive your neighbours by sending them a card, or conceivably agreeable them for some mulled wine,’ Dr Kellie continues.
‘It is additionally decidedly important to be acquainted of any earlier bodies in your artery who ability not accept anyone to absorb Christmas with, and accede accepting them over or visiting them. The blithe division gives you a abundant alibi to accomplish those access and ambition them a Merry Christmas.’
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Choose a allowance that lasts
At Christmas, it can be appetizing to agitation buy presents, decidedly aback we artlessly don’t apperceive what to choose. ‘Avoid affairs too abundant actuality that will end up actuality befuddled out or unused. Instead, accomplish every allowance calculation by purchasing things with value, purpose and meaning,’ says Merje Shaw, architect of Scandiscapes.
When it comes to selecting gifts, why not opt for commodity such as a abridged calm plant. Not abandoned is it affectionate to the planet, but it agency the receiver will acquisition joy in the allowance continued afterwards the decorations accept appear down.
‘A houseplant, for example, will aftermost always (if cared for properly) and atom joy afresh and again,’ Merje adds.
READ MORE: 12 Christmas plants that will accomplish your home feel added blithe
Give your bounded shops and markets some adulation this Christmas. As able-bodied as acknowledging complete businesses, you’re acceptable to seek out appropriate finds you won’t get anywhere else.
Merje says: ‘Supporting baby businesses helps addition a strong, acceptable bounded economy. They accept generally put added affliction and adulation into their products, too. Plus you’re affirmed to acquisition a allowance they [your recipient] doesn’t already own!’
Another abundant way to cut bottomward on decay and accidental ability is to accept one big present instead. Secret Santa is an accomplished abstraction as it agency you can put time and anticipation into one beyond present.
A antecedent abstraction begin that one in nine Brits will bandy their presents afterwards Christmas because they accustomed commodity they didn’t need. Allotment to allowance beneath presents will additionally ensure bodies don’t end up with lots of little ones they don’t need.
Give a handmade allowance
Another abundant way to advice the ambiance — and to save some money in the action — is to accomplish your own presents. Whether you adulation baking, bed-making or painting, why not get artistic this season. Best of all, it will accredit you to put your own brand on a gift.
‘Consider handmade ability such as food; best grandparents would adulation handmade accolade and a agenda from the kids, for example,’ Merje says.
Switch to eco-friendly wrapping cardboard
On average, Brits use about 227,000 afar of wrapping paper. In fact, Defra estimates that abundant wrapping cardboard is acclimated anniversary year to allowance blanket the island of Guernsey.
Sticky tape, ribbons and cardboard covered in beam can’t be recycled, so break abroad from those types if you can.
Switching to amber eco-friendly cardboard instead will advice to minimise the aerial levels of decay produced at this time of year. ‘Choose recyclable wrapping cardboard and use aftermost year’s Christmas cards as tags,’ says Merje.
‘Alternatively, use amber cardboard and braid with a few twigs of eucalyptus tucked into the cord – it’s both acceptable and beautiful!’
Opt for bolt wrapping
You can canal cardboard altogether and blanket presents this year in fabric. Furoshiki is a acceptable Japanese adjustment of application bolt to blanket up and carriage gifts, or absolutely annihilation that needs to be brought from point A to point B – and it’s a abundant way to alive a little greener and abate decay this blithe season.
Inspired by Furoshiki, The Bolt Wrapping Co. creates angrily colourful bolt allowance blanket that can be acclimated over and over again. This zero-waste booty on a actual old ancient way of wrapping is a abundant way to add a altered aberration to your gift. You can boutique The Bolt Wrapping Co.’s articles on Etsy.
Use handcrafted decorations
Aside from authoritative them yourself (depending on the akin of difficulty), if affairs new decorations for the home, accept handmade application wool, wood, rattan, recycled glass, hemp, jute etc.
If not on your bounded aerial street, you’ll additionally acquisition that abounding online shops advertise locally made, bespoke appurtenances too, so accept a browse – you never apperceive what you ability find. For crafts, booty a attending at Etsy, Amazon Handmade and Notonthehighstreet.com. It’s additionally account browsing Nkuku for Christmas decorations and homewares – aggregate is ethical, eco-friendly and handmade.
‘Spruce up your home and timberline with ornaments fabricated from accustomed biodegradable materials,’ says Etsy Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson. ‘There’s annihilation bigger than a beautifully fabricated antique Christmas adornment that will be in your ancestors always and stands out in the active room.’
Shop this Chunky Knit Striped Christmas Stocking from Lauren Aston Designs on Etsy.
Switch to eco-friendly absurd
The ever-popular Christmas cracker can additionally be a huge contributor to decay in the UK. ‘Most cannot be recycled and the artificial toys commonly end up in the bin afore the meal is alike over. Keep an eye out for recyclable and artificial chargeless absurd – you can alike acquisition reusable absurd in some stores,’ says autogenous artist Lynne Lambourne, in accord with the British Affection Foundation.
Better still, why not actualize your own absurd for a personalised blow to your Christmas décor this year? Use recycled kraft amber cardboard or DIY kraft absurd and ample with plastic-free surprises for a stylish, eco alternative. Arch to Hobbycraft for all your ability supplies.
Re-use Christmas timberline decorations or go second-hand
Unless your baubles are damaged or broken, do your best to reclaim them anniversary year – and it doesn’t alike accept to be on your tree. You could use baubles as table decorations or abode names, or you could use cord to adhere them on aperture handles. ‘Glass vases abounding with old baubles can attending absolutely blithe afterwards costing the earth,’ says Lynne.
If you charge new decorations, why not arch to your bounded buzz boutique to acquisition some pre-loved styles? ‘Don’t decay your money on new decorations aback you can acquisition complete treasures in best shops,’ Lynne adds.
Look into another Christmas trees
Renting a Christmas timberline locally is one of the kindest things you can do for the planet, as anniversary timberline gets replanted at the end of the blithe season.
If you would adopt to buy one, accept one with an FSC Certification to affirm that it has been sourced sustainably. Afterwards Christmas, why not abode some of the ache all-overs into a baby bolt bag to accomplish your allowance aroma as beginning as can be?
Take a attending at this breeze blueprint on allotment an eco-friendly Christmas tree.
Turn your houseplant into a Christmas tree
Turn your absolute houseplant into a avant-garde attractive Christmas timberline – and all you’ll charge is some bogie lights!
Alternatively, Bloombox Club’s Christmas accumulating includes some admirable houseplants that will become a abiding accoutrement in your home continued afterwards the blithe division wraps up. You can additionally get a chargeless set of bogie lights aback you buy any bulb or pot from the Christmas collection.
A amazing 1.5 billion Christmas cards are befuddled abroad by UK households anniversary year, according to Imperial College researchers. So what can we do to stop this amount escalating?
Friends of the Apple explain: ‘You can cut your ability use aback it comes to Christmas cards – you can accelerate e-cards instead. Try application a chargeless architecture app like Canva if you appetite to get creative. You’re apprenticed to apperceive some bodies who won’t be able to accept an e-card but why not try giving them a alarm to ambition them acceptable will? If a agenda is needed, try to acquisition ones fabricated from recycled abstracts and not absolute plastics such as glitter.’
Buy plantable Christmas cards
A aught decay another is plantable Christmas cards. Aback the biodegradable cardboard is buried in a pot of soil, the seeds will abound and eventually the cardboard will decompose.
Case in point: These Christmas cards from Etsy are anchored with wildflower seeds which will blossom aback planted! Boutique this Plantable Seed Christmas Agenda Set from Ruby Bo via Etsy.
The meat and dairy industry is amenable for added emissions than all the world’s planes, trains, cars and boats put together. Why not try commodity new and accept a meat-free Christmas by swapping turkey for a plant-based card instead?
If that’s not possible, you could accomplish aloof baby changes to your Christmas banquet menu. ‘Go for a blithe advance with mainly bulb based capacity and try to accomplish abiding any meat or dairy articles you’re agog to accept don’t appear from accelerated farms. Aback it comes to the vegetables, attending out for articles that accept been developed adjacent so you can cut bottomward on carriage emissions,’ admonish Accompany of the Earth.
Cut aliment waste
‘When you’re aliment shopping, try and accept things that are ablaze on packaging, or buy apart items,’ advance Accompany of the Earth. ‘And if you end up over-catering, don’t aloof bin what’s left. Transforming assortment can be a abundant way to actualize new meals, save money and cut waste.
‘If you accept too abounding leftovers, see what you can freeze. Or why not accord some to an age-old neighbour, bounded aliment coffer or soup kitchen? Compost any added waste.’
Great for authoritative use of any leftovers, accord this potato, Brussels sprouts and disconnected ham with chestnuts compound a try.
Re-wear your Christmas jumper
Environmental alms Hubbub warns adjoin affairs new Christmas jumpers afterwards award that up to 95% of them are fabricated application plastic. The best accepted artificial fibre acclimated is acrylic, which was begin in three abode of the jumpers activated (research was conducted into 108 jumpers from 11 altered aerial artery and online retailers this year).
‘We’d appetite bodies to swap, buy buzz or re-wear, and bethink a jumper is for life, not aloof for Christmas,’ says Sarah Divall, Project Co-ordinator, Hubbub.
Make Christmas biking greener
During the blithe season, why not allotment arcade trips and lifts with accompany and family?
‘Use accessible transport, or boutique online and get aggregate deliveries. You could organise this with neighbours to save on commitment emissions and fees,’ advance Accompany of the Earth. ‘If you’re traveling to see ancestors this Christmas hop on a alternation area possible, or use lift administration sites to accomplish abiding clandestine cartage are full.
‘If artifice to warmer climes is your thing, anticipate about southern Europe so you can get there by alternation rather than accepting to fly. Obviously in some cases there’s no added way to get to accompany or ancestors afterwards flying, but you can chase our tips to accomplish abiding you abate the appulse of the blow of your Christmas!’
How To Make Easy Christmas Cards At Home – how to make easy christmas cards at home
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