Christmas can seem unattainable when you compare the fantasy version we’re sold with the reality. Significant numbers of people find Christmas isolating and lonely, for different reasons, and struggle to stay connected with family and friends.
As specialists in providing luxury granny annexes, we know that quality of life depends on more than the four walls that surround you, especially at Christmas.
Who Feels Lonely and Disconnected at Christmas?
According to research from Age UK, 1.7 million older people in the UK have not met up with a friend in a month, and 300,000 have not had a conversation with family or friends in the same period.
Christmas makes feelings of loneliness more acute, and the same research indicates that for many, loneliness has become a normal part of life.
However, loneliness at Christmas is not confined to older people. Plenty of people can’t make it home to families for Christmas, and for them, loneliness can be an issue.
But at Christmas, you can also find yourself feeling disconnected simply due to the pressures associated with the festive season. You can, in effect, feel isolated even among family and friends if you’ve let the whole issue of planning for Christmas get under your skin.
Often, it’s a case of Christmas failing to meet expectations and, in so doing, obscuring its true meaning.
Social media tells us how much of a great time everyone else is having. This can make feelings of Christmas inadequacy more acute.
Some of us may then try and double down on our efforts to create the perfect family Christmas. We focus on all the arrangements, on getting things just right, and on the cooking and cleaning.
But this can be as isolating in its own way as spending Christmas away from your loved ones.
The value is in being with people you want to be with, not in how well you’ve cooked the turkey, or if the decorations and presents are up to scratch.
Staying connected with family, in this instance, is about working out what really matters, and what doesn’t. Rather than focusing on the extra work to make Christmas happen, look at how best to enjoy each other’s company.
Connecting When You’re Miles Away
Yes, social media can raise unrealistic expectations, but for those who are away for Christmas, technology can also be a big support.
There’s plenty of digital ways of getting connected at Christmas, from WhatsApp to Facebook.
You can even maintain family Christmas traditions at a distance, whether its unwrapping presents on Facetime, or having a sherry over a Skype conversation.
You can even have Christmas dinner via video.
Remember, also, that in an age of instant communication, sending an actual, physical card or letter can really stand out and let someone know you’re thinking about them.
Send that special Christmas parcel to a relative, then share their enjoyment on opening it via video chat.
Coping With Loneliness
Loneliness can affect people from any walk of life and at any age.
While some people choose to spend Christmas alone, others find themselves in circumstances where they appear to have no other choice.
There are various ways of coping with this kind of situation.
If you receive an invitation, even if it causes some degree of social anxiety, do consider saying yes. Many lonely people turn down invitations only to regret it later.
Consider volunteering. There are plenty of charities and places looking for support over Christmas, including befriending services and soup kitchens. People are fascinating, with their own stories to tell, and a willingness to listen to what you have to say. Volunteering can help get you out into the world, with others.
If you know other people who will be spending Christmas alone, get in touch, and see if you can spend some of the time together.
What Family Means at Christmas
You may be connected to your family at Christmas and looking forward to spending time together, but are there people you know who are lonely?
Here’s a thought: family can mean more than just your closest relatives at Christmas. What you do to support others can make Christmas more meaningful for both them and you.
Are there people you could drop in on to give them some company, or who you could invite over for a drink or a mince pie?
Even these small gestures can make a world of difference to someone who has no family to be with at Christmas.
It’s important to have a roof over your head at Christmas, whether you live in a family home, a granny annexe, or elsewhere, but the company can matter too.
We hope you can stay connected this Christmas.
Get In Touch
We provide luxury granny annexes for modern, adaptable living solutions. For more information, please get in touch, and one of the iHUS team will be able to answer your questions