80% of those surveyed by Single Friendly Church find Christmas tough.
At its best – Christmas should be a time of warmth and welcome. So why isn’t that the experience for so many single Christians? And how practically can churches play a role in changing this?
Around 500 Christians shared experiences of being single at Christmas in a survey commissioned by Single Friendly Church.
80% of respondents said they find at least some aspects of Christmas difficult. One said: “I think it’s one of the harder times of the year – if not the hardest – for single people.”
Many reported struggling with loneliness over the Christmas period. Two-thirds of respondents said that their church does nothing to help people on their own on Christmas Day.
43% said that the week between Christmas and New Year is a difficult or lonely time. There was a feeling that the idea of church family doesn’t apply to Christmas. Instead, it’s a time for “real” family – and those without or away from their family can feel extremely isolated.
Single people were also asked what church events they enjoy attending at Christmas. While carol services are popular (79%), almost half of respondents also said they attend Christmas Day services, which many churches treat as a family-focused affair.
Single Friendly Church believes that churches must change this narrative. There are lots of practical things we can all do to make Christmas a positive and inclusive experience for everyone. Singleness is on the rise and more people than ever are finding themselves on their own at Christmas time.
In November Single Friendly Church ran a training webinar on Christmas for church leaders. A recording is available on our YouTube channel.
One survey participant shared: “When I was a child, my parents would invite single people for Boxing Day. Some people had nowhere to go. As children, I think this was really good for us to normalise including others.”
Practical points for churches and individuals:
- Lots of people don’t have somebody to spend Christmas with. It is often through no fault of their own. Find out who will or might be on their own in your church – don’t make assumptions.
- Christmas can be a hard time for many. Be aware and pray for those who are hurting.
Invite others in
- Look out for and include those attending Christmas services alone
- Invite someone to join you for one of your Christmas celebrations
Empower single people to be part of the solution
- Encourage social activities and meet-ups over the Christmas week
Preach an inclusive sermon that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas.
- Secular Christmas celebrations often focus on families – but that shouldn’t be what churches do. Jesus was born for everyone – the stranger, the lonely, the hurting – not just the happy families and children.
Single Friendly Church is a Body in Association with Churches Together in England. It works to help churches welcome and include single adults. 40% of UK adults are single and this number is increasing across every age group.