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Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year. Everywhere you go there’s pictures and songs about spending Christmas with all the family. Yet for a large number of people that simply isn’t possible. But no one has to be alone this Christmas, even if they can’t spend it with their loved ones. 

There are so many reasons why people can be alone this Christmas. For some, they are unable to take time off from their work. My foster dad is a nurse and it’s always a lucky draw to see who gets which days and nights off.

Some people live too far away from friends and family to make it back for the holidays. My business partner Tinder Tommie is staying in Budapest this year instead of coming back to the UK. I have other friends who are studying abroad in various countries who are unable to make it back for the holidays.

Then there are those that have no choice but to be alone this Christmas, such as the homeless or the elderly. In all these situations things can look hopeless and glum, but I truly believe no one has to be by themselves.

If you’re finding yourself alone this Christmas, there are lots of options open for you. These range from volunteering, to hosting a Christmas party, to meeting strangers. Finally, keeping up my holiday tradition, I will be opening up a special email address to everyone and anyone who is alone this Christmas.

Volunteering

I know volunteering doesn’t sound like fun. To a lot of people it sounds like work that you don’t get paid for. However it’s so much more than that. Volunteering is a way to take your spare time and really make a difference to someone else’s life. At Christmas, the need for volunteers is higher than ever.

The great thing about volunteering is that there’s lots of different ways of doing it. Yes, you can go to a soup kitchen and help feed people. But there are lots of jobs that require more skills, which you may have. Work in IT? There’s lots of charities that could do with a skilled tech on hand at Christmas. Love talking to people? Volunteer to spend time with the elderly or hospitalised to make sure they’re not alone this Christmas either.

If you know how to play a musical instrument you can volunteer at various places such as homeless shelters or retirement homes to bring Christmas cheer to everyone. Don’t forget there are lots of community choirs that go around on Christmas day singing that you still have time to join.

Host a party

Christmas isn’t exclusive to families. It can be a great opportunity to meet your friends and spend time with those close to you. Why not try hosting a Christmas dinner or party for your friends and colleagues who are unable to go home this Christmas? If you’re stuck at work, it could be a wonderful surprise for others to see a mini banquet of turkey sandwiches and mulled wine waiting for them.

Hosting a party doesn’t have to a big affair either. Why not invite your neighbours or dorm mates over if you know they’re also at a loose end? Prepare silly games like charades, pictionary, cards against humanity or other games that don’t require a set number of people. It’s a great way to break the ice and do something light hearted.

With modern technology you can now also have virtual parties. I recently took part in a board game day with my friends via skype. Why not arrange to skype with your family or friends for a little bit? You can essentially share Christmas dinner with them. With conference calling you can also connect several groups of people from anywhere.

Make new friends

Christmas can be a great time to have an adventure and make new friends. I know that sounds corny but it’s true. There are loads of groups you can find online that are hosting their own parties, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of setting up your own. Websites like Meetup are good finding groups.

There’s also the more options of using things like couch-surfing to meet new people at Christmas. You could even put your own home up and have someone stay over. Another great place to find new people are local hostels, why not pop by one and start a pub crawl as a local guide?

Talk to me

Since starting my website I’ve been very open about the fact I understand and have experienced loneliness myself. It’s for that reason that the past two years I’ve opened up a separate email account on Christmas day so that anyone who is alone has someone they can wish a Merry Christmas to.

I want to thank the 140 people that emailed me last year. I received some really heart warming messages, some very funny puns (which I love) and a few photos of cats! This year my email door will be open as always.

If you’re alone this Christmas, please feel free to send me a message on Christmas day. It might take a while (depending on if I’m stuffing my face with turkey or not!), but I’ll be sure to reply. Even if you’re not alone this Christmas, feel free to say hi. You will also be able to reach me on my twitter this year as well.

The email address is harrietsugarcookie@gmail.com – please note I only use this one at Christmas for the Christmas emails, so if you send me something before or after, I may not get a chance to reply!

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