Opinion

Guest editorial — Help prevent lonely Christmases

Christmas, at least, according to the media, advertising, and everything else that bombards us with messages every day, is about spending time with family, having a big feast, sharing gifts and being filled with ‘Christmas cheer.’

That’s OK for everyone who has a family that fits into the mould of the perfect family. Happy faces, laughing children, people who love you, and an abundance of cash, that is.

But, guess what? Not everyone has a home from a Sears catalogue.

Rather than being the happiest time of year, for many people Christmas is an unbearably lonely time. For those who don’t have family to share food and gifts with, being surrounded by images of Christmas merriment and perfect families only highlights the fact that they don’t fit the mould.

Everywhere you turn, advertisements, magazines, TV and radio are all telling us we should have a family or someone special to spend Christmas with. For those who can’t be with loved ones, or do not have any, this just highlights the fact that they are alone.

The fact is, for every person actually enjoying the Christmas that the TV, magazines and stores are telling us we should be, there is a person who is feeling left out.

Canadian statistics from helplines have shown that both the number and severity of calls by depressed persons increases every year through November and December, returning to normal volume towards the end of January. Christmas is depressing. But sometimes, all that is needed is someone to notice a person’s existence.

If you know anybody who is spending Christmas alone, stop by with a card, invite them for dinner, or just knock on their door and say Merry Christmas. How good does it make you feel when a stranger smiles at you for no reason other than to show friendliness? Walking down the street, look people in the eye and smile. Make sure those who are feeling like they have nobody, know that other community members care.

—Fernie Free Press

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