How to Help Others This Christmas

15 DEC 2020

Christmas is often a time for families to come together and celebrate with tables laden with festive food and gifts piled under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, this is not always with case, with some people experiencing increased financial stress, family challenges and loneliness. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures showed that in October, 38% of Australians experienced personal stressors due to COVID-19 including relationship difficulties, loneliness, job loss and financial stress. This year, some West Australian families will be separated at Christmas or may have chosen not to travel to be together, due to the risk of the hard border being reimposed in the event of an outbreak. In addition to this, the ABS reports that this Christmas over 116,000 Australians will be homeless.

With many locals experiencing hardship this season, Lifeline WA bereavement counsellor Naomi Weir encourages anyone wanting to offer assistance to reach out. “People may know of someone struggling this Christmas but might not know how to help, or be cautious of offending,” Naomi explains. “But the most beautiful thing anyone can do is to include someone.” Naomi offers suggestions of small things people can do to help others less fortunate this Christmas:

  • Invite someone over for a craft or cooking day so that they can make Christmas gifts and not have to buy them.
  • If you are close with a family who may be struggling, ask the children what they would like to give their family for Christmas and help them arrange a gift to give.
  • Include people who may not be with family this year in your own Christmas celebrations.

Naomi encourages people to break down the barriers and make it easy for someone to accept invitations of help. “It’s easy to say no, and some people might really appreciate an offer but feel self-conscious accepting help.” Naomi suggests small offerings and advises against grand gestures that may feel overwhelming. “People may shy away from joining Christmas lunch empty handed. It is important to emphasise that we don’t need more food or presents, and to encourage them to just bring themselves.” Naomi adds: “Alternatively, invite them over a little bit earlier to help with the set-up so they can still feel they are contributing.” Christmas can be a hard time for people, but Naomi explains that sometimes a distraction from sadness, even just for the day, can alleviate the stressors that can come with this time of year. “We all just want to be seen, and valued and included, and if someone can offer that, that is the best gift anyone can give.”

If you are aware of someone who may be in need of food or company this Christmas, but aren’t able to include them in your own celebrations, you can direct them to any of the below where they can share a Christmas meal and be included in the community:

 Event Date Time Details RSVP
Seeds of Hope Dinner Mon 14 Dec 4pm Wellington Square, Perth max 150 people
Homelessness We Care Perth Christmas Café Tue 15 Dec 6pm Supreme Court Gardens, Perth Nil
St Pats Lunch Wed 16 Dec 11:30am Princess May Park, Fremantle Nil
Sikh Community Christmas Thu 17 Dec   Wellington Square, Perth Nil
Perth Homeless Support Christmas Sun 20 Dec 5pm- 6pm Moore St, Perth Nil
Salvos Christmas Celebratory Meal Mon 21 Dec 12pm- 1:30pm Salvation Army
48 Drumond St, Bentley
9458 1855
Missionaries of Charity Christmas Celebration Wed 23 Dec 5pm Moore St, Perth Nil
Chakra Christmas Eve Dinner Thu 24 Dec 4pm- 5pm Chakra Restaurant
 839D Beaufort St, Inglewood
Mission Australia Christmas Lunch in the Park Fri 25 Dec 10am- 2pm Langley Park (West), Perth Nil
Joondalup Christmas Lunch Fri 25 Dec 12pm- 3pm Central Park
187 Grand Blvd, Joondalup
max 350 guests
Register here

Subiaco Community Christmas Lunch Fri 25 Dec 12pm- 2pm The Third Place
325 Barker Rd, Subiaco
9388 1030 by 18th Dec
St Pats Lunch Fri 25 Dec 11:30am St Pats
12 Queen Victoria St, Fremantle

If you or anyone you know are finding the Christmas season difficult, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, available 24/7.

Written by Liz Schleicher

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash