For many Roscommon families, Christmas is a time when everyone gets together to tuck into a traditional turkey and ham, eat too many mince pies all washed down with copious glasses of champagne, while at the same time, deftly deflecting smutty jokes from a drunken relative or two. Sure it’s all great gas.
However, for some readers, possibly those who’re separated from their partners and children, the elderly, the bereaved, or those working away from home, etc., Christmas spent all alone can be pretty upsetting. Then again, as we don’t like to generalise here, we certainly realise there are lots of people who’re sick of constantly being told how ‘tis the season to be jolly and who, instead of craving company for Christmas, actively look forward to enjoying a solitary yule parked in front of the telly with nothing more than President Higgins’ annual address to help them fall asleep. After all, we all know that, while the rest of the world was jingle belling, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin’s character in Home Alone) was having a whale of a time on his tod; so nobody should feel guilty about shunning companionship this festive season.
Nonetheless, if you’re reading this and are someone who is dreading spending this Christmas Day alone, we’d like to suggest that you may wish to develop a plan in advance and perhaps, (and it’s only a suggestion), volunteer with a local organisation. Below are some of the ways you could get involved.
As there will be protocols for volunteering in place, including, in many cases, Garda-vetting procedures, why not contact your local charities and community groups now to see if they need an extra pair of hands looking in on a senior citizen or by delivering a hot dinner to a housebound senior who’d be delighted with the bit of company.
There are plenty of nursing homes/care home facilities across the county whose residents, whom, for various reasons, may not have visitors on Christmas Day. We’re sure the wonderful staff would be thrilled to hear from you with regard to possibly volunteering an hour or two of your time to pop in and share a piece of pudding, a pint, or to raise a Christmas G&T with their clients, who’ll likely appreciate a chat with a friendly new face.
Contact your local SPCA or dog pound. I can tell you the people who run Roscommon’s Dog Pound do an amazing job actively trying to reunite/rehome all dogs that come through their doors. In addition, the local animal charities work selflessly all year round to help abandoned, abused and needy fur babies. So, why not see if these rescue organisations need help with feeding, watering, walking and cuddling homeless/sick dogs and cats on Christmas Day.
If you work in the hospitality sector/the travel industry/or in any of our fantastic emergency services like An Garda Síochána, fire and ambulance services/are a volunteer with the Civil Defence, or are working in a hospital or in a family medical practice, and you’re spending Christmas Day alone, (and dreading it), then here’s a thought…why not give a colleague who is rostered on, the gift of time to spend with their family and swap your shift with them. Now isn’t that a wonderfully kind Christmas gesture?