At Be Someone For Someone, we are on a mission to tackle loneliness head on, because we have seen firsthand the devastating impact it can have. Christmas is known to be the loneliest time of year, especially for our treasured seniors. For the second year running, the More the Merrier Christmas campaign encouraged everyone to extend their festivities to those who may be alone.
We want to help people like John
In December 2019, we met John who was facing his 30th Christmas alone. Worse still, after several strokes that year he was also unable to shop for essential groceries. Our team made John’s Christmas one to remember, by including him in a range of festivities that showed him he really did still matter.
Watch John's story!
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Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their wonderful stories of connection during the festive season.
Gifts of connection
Read stories of a connected Christmas submitted by people all over Australia.
I recently moved into my boyfriend and his family's house while I study at university. I jog in the afternoons and noticed many retirees living in the area going for a stroll. This Christmas I will be putting little surprise homemade Christmas biscuits in their letter boxes along with with a hello card, to all of the neighbours in the area, so that everyone can receive a gift knowing someone cares for them.
This Christmas, I was inspired by the More the Merrier campaign to do something nice and out of the ordinary for those around me. My boyfriend and I moved into our apartment 10 months ago, and we still hadn’t officially met any of our neighbours. In the leadup to Christmas, I decided to bake and decorate some gingerbread cookies to give out to these people – an excuse for an introduction and for spreading the festive cheer all at the same time! Our neighbours were surprised yet delighted by my visit, and I chatted with everyone for a while. It turns out that an elderly gentleman lives underneath us, all by himself, and it was from him that I received a Christmas gift of my own.
Gwen is 94 years old, lives on her own and has no family – she had spent many Christmases completely alone. I decided to change that this year for Gwenny, visiting her to help her decorate her home, even setting up her own Christmas Tree. I invited any visitors providing services to Gwenny to leave a gift under the Christmas Tree which they cheerfully did. It transformed Christmas for Gwenny- who was all smiles opening her Christmas presents!
I’ll bake Christmas treats for my neighbours and take my dog for pats and cuddles with my neighbour whose wife passed away a few years ago. He loves my dog and doesn’t see her enough.
I invited two siblings, Memo and Danny to join my family Christmas lunch, as they had recently moved to Australia and had no family or friends to celebrate with. It was wonderful for Memo and Danny to spend the evening with people their own age who had similar experiences. Memo and Danny learned what a Christmas cracker is and exchanged stories. The fully decorated house, present swapping and family meal reminded Memo and Danny of home and made the day memorable instead of lonely.
I'll volunteer my time to play music at a local country music club for the enjoyment of those that may have lost loved ones.
Our family loves this time of year and our annual tradition of a bbq breakfast on the beach on Christmas morning. This year we have asked our elderly neighbour to join us. She is recently widowed, her remaining family live overseas and have minimal contact. She told me her bucket list wish is to never spend Christmas alone. I told her that I’m a dream maker :)
I invited my elderly neighbour to spend Christmas day with me as he is all alone. We will go to my daughters house and will enjoy a yummy Christmas lunch with my daughter, her husband and my three grandchildren.
It’s my son's first Christmas away from my Nan and Grandpa, so we’ve sent them a Christmas book that my son also has. This way they can have the gift of reading the same book together over video call on Christmas Day.
Somewhat hard to bring people together given our circumstances, however for this Christmas we have received a special exemption to allow our Grandfather who has been locked away in a nursing home all year to spend Christmas day with us and the rest of the family. Having been all alone this year and suffering from dementia, I'm glad we are able to make his the end of this year a little less lonely and spend some time with him over this holiday season.
My 12 year-old got in touch with a nursing home to find an elderly pen pal to send letters and drawings to.
When lockdown struck, only the homeless were left on our streets. The hotel next door to me took them in, and I worked with them to make it become their home. We are throwing a Christmas party for all those amazing people who had only a temporary home, but came together and helped each other feel a sense of place and belonging during this challenging year.
I visited an elderly old neighbour who had to move off his farm and into town earlier this year. I was able to take one of my goat kids, a pet chook and my dog in for the Christmas visit. I could see his face light up as he petted the farm friends he misses so much living in town. It was a joyful occasion for both of us. Unfortunately he has since passed away but I feel so grateful that I have that lasting memory of the happiness my visit brought.
It's been an intense year. I came to Australia from Burundi seeking asylum. After 4 years of wait, I was finally granted refugee status and a permanent residency in May 2020. On the same day I received an offer letter to do a PhD at the University fo Melbourne. I just started my research that will explore empowerment strategies of women with lived experience of seeking asylum in Australia. There are many girls and women who are in the same situation I used to be in, they do not have access to education and employment opportunities, their visa prevents them from feeling free and they miss their family more than anything especially during the festive season. During covid, most of them did not have access to jobkeeper or jobseeker and they were left behind at at time where everyone needed support, compassion and love. I am planning on writing Christmas cards to some of the women asylum seekers who have had a difficult year just to share a message of hope to let them that one day they will be free like myself, that tomorrow the sun will shine again and they should not give up on their dreams. 'Someone out there loves you and is praying for you'.
Hi I have planned this Christmas to celebrate with sick people at hospital. Most of the elderly patients are not allowed to be visited by their family or friends due to COVID 19 pandemic. So, me and some of my dear colleagues did not apply for holiday this year. We are cooking some cake and cookies - bringing all ( who are able to mobilise) elderly patients to meeting hall and going to celebrate with them . My daughter going to join as well. This Christmas is so hard as my parents unable to come Australia . So it’s going be more meaningful Christmas this year. Thank you
This year we have been walking around each night singing Christmas carols. My kids love it and there are so many people who smile when we walk past them and wave, singing our carols. My 3 year old does so well remembering the words and singing along with my mother and myself. I have a 12 month old that holds bells the whole time and dances along to us. It has been a lovely way to get out about and spread Christmas spirit after such a strange and stressful year.
When my kids are a bit older and restrictions have eased I plan to take this idea into a few nursing homes and give the residents carols at their doors. I wish so much we could do it this year for them. Next year hopefully we can spread our Christmas carols to the elderly in homes. I think they need as much cheer as possible xx
(I don't have a picture of us out caroling but these are the two little elves that are mentioned ☺️)
To help make Christmas less lonely and much more festive this holiday season, my mother and I are going to be working as a team!
My beautiful mother works in Home Aged Care and has asked to work Christmas day so she can spend time with some of her clients who wont have any family vising this year. She knows how something as little as a small afternoon tea, breakfast or lunch on Christmas day will truly make their days and help them to feel loved and not alone this year. I will be tagging along to help with all the preparation and to give out my love as well.
When I return home from our Christmas holiday I am going to visit our local Meals on Wheels and volunteer in the kitchen. I did this last year and really enjoyed helping prepare meals for the clients.
Currently my younger brother is in Germany amid lockdown. Prior to that he was in China. The family has come together to do a video present opening and lunch online. We have sent him a family momento to let him know he is not alone.
My Aunt is unable to be with us for Christmas this year and she lives alone so to bring her some holiday cheer we are sending her christmas care packages every few days with sweet treats and funny gifts with little riddle cards so she can try to guess what's in the box before she opens it.
This year has been an odd one with no travel and we have been using virtual meetings for most of it to get our work done. Since we can't safely travel to see our friends and family we thought it would be a good idea to do a virtual Christmas. We have planned a big family dinner and will set up the TV on the table so it looks like our table is huge!!
I plan to volunteer as part of our local community lunch. It's become a very valuable event and well attended by many people who might otherwise have a very lonely day. It's a time and place where people feel equality, respect and non-judgement, community bringing a sense of belonging.
Thank you to our sponsors
of the virtual brunch and hamper gifts