Christmas is a magical time of the year, but for many it’s also one of the loneliest times of the year. I’ve been very open about my own troubles with feeling lonely at Christmas and this year I will once again be writing seasons greetings to anyone who finds themselves alone on Christmas day.
It’s that time of year again. Christmas songs are playing non-stop in every shop, everything is decorated festively and mulled wine is trending on social media. Well, it isn’t but it might as well be. The happy holiday season is upon us, but for everyone the happy part might not be so happy.
It’s hard to talk about loneliness at the best of times. It’s at least doubly hard to talk about it at Christmas when the emphasis on being with family and loved ones is so strong. For four years so far I have been writing emails to those who find themselves alone on Christmas day and it’s taught me a lot about the distinct isolation some people find on the magic day.
Loneliness affects everyone
One of the biggest things I’ve learnt in my pursuit of ending loneliness is that it affects everyone. Old, young, rich, poor, and every race on the planet. I’ve gotten emails in the past from pretty much anyone you can imagine, and knowing that I realise there are probably people closer to me that face these same feelings and I don’t even realise it.
There are a million reasons why someone is alone or feeling lonely at Christmas I have learnt. It could be they have to work, they are abroad, they are in the military or simply they don’t have anyone at home to celebrate it with. For others they were with people but for some reason they couldn’t fit in with the holiday spirit and their disconnection isolated them. I understood that one the most because it affects me too.
I’ve written about it more in depth in previous years, and you can read about that here. This year is in some ways much better for me though. Although all my reasons for feeling lonely are still here, I feel much more connected to people after realising how un-alone I am in my feelings.
Writing these emails every year, at first I was doing it because I wanted to help others and to cheer up others. Feeling I could understand at least a little of what they were going through, I felt I was in a good position to at least offer some words of love and caring.
Thank you everyone who’s written to be before
What I didn’t realise was how much all of those emails would also be helping me. On Christmas day I am with my family and I am not alone. But I have always felt disconnected from them in some small, imperceptible way. I always felt guilt that my dad and grandma were no longer there and I felt guilty that my smiles weren’t always completely genuine.
But when I opened those emails, I found people reaching out to me. The simple emails which I received have made me smile, have made me cry and have made me more human. It’s something my family have seen the results of too. I never realise how much they saw my sadness at Christmas after my dad died, and I never realised how they were putting on brave faces for my benefit.
But when those emails opened up such big emotions in me, I couldn’t hold it in, and those emotions overflowed. They let me speak to my family and those close to me. They reminded me to get in touch with old, dear, lost friends. I always responded to some emails with advice if I felt it was wanted and I started to listen to my own advice as well.
So to everyone that emailed me, thank you. Thank you for helping me feel connected. A little bit less lonely. More human. Thank you for helping me learn to be more open with my family and friends. Thank you for not letting me feel like a freak because I struggled to be happy on Christmas day. But most of all, thank you for not letting me be alone.
My door will be open
For the 5th year in a row, I will be opening up my firstname.lastname@example.org email for all those who want to send in an email. If you’re alone this Christmas, or if you’re feeling lonely this Christmas please reach out to me if you want someone to wish you a Merry Christmas.
The one disclosure I have to say is last year I received over 350 emails and I wasn’t able to reply to them all. I sincerely apologise to all those I wasn’t able to email back but I will try my best.
You can also reach out to me on social media. And if you’re truly in a bad place, reach out to anyone at all.