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Six ways to reach out to those you love this Christmas

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As we near Christmas, not everyone will be feeling the festive cheer. So in the spirit of the holiday, why not pass on some joy?

While Christmas can be a time of great happiness, when family and friends set aside time to show each other how much they care, not everyone will be filled with the Christmas spirit. Indeed, too many will feel more lonely and isolated than ever. 

While many of us are blessed with family and friends, not everyone is, and a time so focused on these things can leave people feeling especially alone. Even those who have loved ones can struggle to embrace the festivities, as mental illness, health issues or stress stop them from truly being able to enjoy the holidays. 

As such we have come up with a list of ways to reach out to those you love this Christmas in order to help them feel less alone. After all, what could be a better way to show some Christmas spirit?

1.Give someone a call

Christmas can be a very busy time, so we’re not expecting you to be able to see everyone. However, finding time to give those you won’t see a phone call shouldn’t be too hard. It’s a simple gesture, yet showing that you care enough to set aside time to catch up will show them you remember and care. This is a far greater gift than a card or gadget, and will likely be something they treasure far more. 

This effort should be made for older family members in particular! It is well known that Christmas can be a hard time for the elderly, especially those who have lost many of their friends or who now live in care homes. Doing something as easy as calling (or better yet, visiting) will take very little of your time, but will likely make them very happy. 

2. Make time to see as many as you can

We are by no means suggesting you go and visit all your friends and family members. After all, there will likely be many and they could live far away. However, it is important to make time for those you care about. Therefore seeing as many of your closest loved ones as possible is advisable. 

Going out can be expensive, which is especially unappealing at a time when so much money will be spent on presents. Yet even just putting aside some time to grab a drink with a friend, or stay at home and watch a movie or play board games is enough. While putting aside time for those you rarely see is often emphasised, we also recommend making an effort with those you see often, such as parents. 

You may see them every day, especially if you have moved home for the holidays, but is important to reflect on whether or not these interactions constitute quality time. Is it a brief conversation at dinner? Or are you actually doing things as a family? If not, now might be a good time to start, as it’s always important to show loved ones they are not taken for granted.

3. Surprise presents

While it is typical to wait to give presents until Christmas, it can sometimes be even nicer to surprise someone with a small gift prior to this. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complex, indeed it could be something as simple as a chocolate Santa. It is (as cliche as this sounds) the thought that counts. Showing someone you thought about them, paired with the aspect of surprise, is sure to put a smile on their face, as well as remind them that they have people who care.

4. Christmas cards

Sending Christmas cards is something that has gone a little out of fashion. It is considered somewhat old-fashioned and the expense of stamps and postage can often stop young people embracing this tradition. Of course, some people still send such cards, though they are more often handed out in person to friends and colleagues. Nonetheless, the tradition is sweet, and writing and posting a card can convey affection better than an email or text. As such, sending Christmas cards- even if only to a few people- is a preferential way to show loved ones you are thinking of them. 

5. Offer to help

Though students and those who work get time off for Christmas, the stress and anxiety they feel won't stop at the door. Such emotions can make it difficult to enjoy the festivities, yet with your help they might soon overcome this. 

Sometimes offering a cup of tea and a shoulder to lean on will be enough. Other times it might be worth offering to help, as a problem shared is a problem halved. Have a look at their essay and offer advice on how it can be improved, help them create a presentation or make sense of their notes. Help them practice for job interviews or revise for an exam, wrap their presents or get all the chores done in time. 

It may not seem like much, but taking a bit of the burden and helping with one or two things will likely make them feel a thousand times better. The less stressed they are, the more they'll be able to enjoy Christmas and feel like a part of all the fun.

6. Volunteer

If you want to help those outside your family, volunteering is always a good option. Care homes, food shelters and homeless shelters are all worthy places to volunteer your time. Alternatively, you can donate money to a chosen charity or shop at charity stores in order to help vulnerable people this winter.

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