Let's Talk About Christmas

Not everyone has someone to spend Christmas Day with, while others would rather not be with their family. Remember, some of you will also be dreading Christmas. There are many reasons for dreading Christmas – poverty, illness, bereavement, anxiety, family tension, isolation...and many agencies are cut or even closed over the holiday period. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to think about how we can open our doors and do things differently to help show God's love for all of us.

Whatever we decide to do, it is important that we are all in this together, and your event is done with and by your community. Simple ways to include people are to ask them to bring along a dish, help with the washing up or provide part of the entertainment (e.g. a game or quiz). This helps to create a family atmosphere where we all feel valued with something to contribute.

You can also have a think about what assets there are in your community and how you could make the most of these. Do you have some trifle-making veterans who could teach others how to make the perfect trifle in preparation for the event? Are there some enthusiastic musicians who could provide the music for carol singing? Maybe those who are less mobile could make table decorations or fold the napkins?

Here are a few suggestions of different things which you could do:

  • Extend the morning service by an hour or so to provide a simple soup lunch.
  • Hold a full Christmas lunch for those who would otherwise be on their own - open it up to anyone who would like to come along.
  • Have a get-together mid-afternoon for dessert and tea and coffee. Many people don't know what to do with themselves once they've had their Christmas lunch so this could be a more sociable alternative to just staying in and watching the telly.
  • Have carols by candlelight in the early evening, once it's getting dark. Mince pies and mulled wine could be a warming addition as well!

These ideas won't work for everyone, but the process itself of getting your congregation together to think about what your church can do to help combat loneliness in the community and involve the more isolated in celebrating the birth of Christ is important and can result in other initiatives. If you do decide to offer a Christmas lunch there's a lot to think about, so you can download our timeline and other hints and tips to help you keep on track.

If loneliness is a topic which you'd like to explore more deeply, we are in the process of producing a pack which will provide material to help churches think about what they can do to alleviate loneliness in their community. This is going to be launched in spring 2017 for churches to use through the year, but using Christmas as a focus as it can be such a difficult time for many.

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