Diana, one of our Community Network Developers, is originally from Germany, where the main Christmas celebrations happen on Christmas Eve. Now living in the UK, she often feels at a bit of a loose end on Christmas day.
So, when Eden Community Camper Mo asked her to help at an event cooking Christmas dinner for their local community, Diana found her own Christmas day tradition.
It’s starting to feel like Christmas! Whatever it may be that gives you that festive feeling – the Christmas lights being switched on at your local high street, the first mince pies appearing in the office or that friend who always seems to put up the tree in the middle of November– for many of us, the festive period is a time to look forward to.
However, for some of us, it may not be such a joyous time as we seem to find ourselves at a loose end on Christmas Day. Maybe loved ones we spent all our Christmases with have passed away or family members live too far away to visit, maybe we just moved to a new place where we don’t know anyone yet or we simply don’t celebrate Christmas.
That’s where Community Christmas celebrations come in. When I met Mo at one of our Eden Community Camps in 2017 and she told me about the Christmas party she was hosting for her local community in Nottingham and I didn’t think twice about getting involved. Mo, a former mental health nurse, has held big Christmas Dinners for her local community since 2016 and with over a hundred people expected, there was lots to do, tons of food to cook and a huge space to decorate.
I must admit I was a little nervous about it all in the beginning (so I put on my best Christmas outfit) but everyone was so friendly and within minutes I found myself in the kitchen peeling vegetables and happily chatting to people. People at the event came for many different reasons but everyone felt really welcome and it was a great way to make new friends.
I will go back and help out at Mo’s next Community Christmas party this year and for me, now it begins to feel like Christmas when I get the message, ‘volunteers wanted for Christmas Dinner’. Attending a Community Christmas doesn’t really feel like volunteering, it feels more like spending time with people in your community and making new friends.
Put community at the heart of your Christmas:
- Can you think of someone who may find themselves on their own during the Christmas period? It’s not only elderly people living alone who may dread Christmas but also the colleague who recently relocated, the friend who separated from their partner or the single parent whose kids will spend this Christmas with the other parent. How can you bring people together?
- If you want to volunteer at Christmas this map, pulled together by our friends at Community Christmas, is a great starter to find local events, and many churches and local organisations host or know about local community Christmas dinners. Join in and you might find your own Christmas tradition!
Last year, our UK Delivery Manager Tracey Robbins blogged that loneliness can harm our communities. She challenged us all to make 2018 a year of community connection - how did you get on?
Everyone was so friendly and within minutes I found myself in the kitchen peeling vegetables and happily chatting to people.