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What to do if you face spending Christmas alone

Credit: PA

For people who are forced to spend the festive season alone, Christmas can be a time of dreadful loneliness rather than celebration.

The scale of the problem has become more apparent in a survey released by the Royal Voluntary Service.

The number of people aged 75 and over in the UK
The number of those who will be spending Christmas Day alone

But there are places that offer support.

The Royal Voluntary Service has volunteers across Bristol and Somerset who can provide help this Christmas. Call them on the number below:

  • Call the Royal Voluntary Service - 0117 204 7540


Santa? We saw him!

Santa appears on the rooftops of Bristol Credit: UBTV station

People living in Shadwell Road in Bishopston in Bristol held a Christmas street party this year - and had the surprise of their lives - Santa waving to them from the rooftops.

The road was closed for two hours as part of the "Playing Out" scheme for the party - and the visit from Father Christmas was an added extra.

We'd closed the street as usual and people had brought out Christmas goodies such as mulled wine, roasted chestnuts to share with neighbours.

During the carol singing, one of the kids suddenly shouted "Santa". We were lucky enough to have a TV crew from Bristol Uni there to film it.

– George Grace, Local organiser, "Playing Out"

You can see the events unfold at the Christmas party in this video by UBTV.

What does Christmas mean to you?

You have told us that Christmas means more than presents Credit: PA

Many of you have been getting in touch to share what Christmas means to you.

For some the religious significance is the important thing, while for others it's the food, the family or the day off work. Many of you are reflecting on what's important to you.

Here is a selection of your thoughts.

This year is about me thanking a special person for donating their liver, and to their family who must miss her very much, I'm so grateful.

– Tracy Naughton, Yeovil, Somerset

When we lived In Bristol it was all about Santa for the kids and dinner with the family. Now we're in NZ it's more about holidays and food and missing family.

– Anna Marie Healey, former Bristol resident

Christmas is when Jesus was born and spending special time with friends and family.

– Ann-marie Down, Bristol

It's a nice break from getting up and coming home from work in the dark! A chance to get together with friends and loved ones when otherwise you might not find the time.

But religious... no thanks!

– Ian Lovell, Filton, South Gloucestershire

Sadly as a business owner it costs me a fortune.

Business shuts from the 23rd till 5th January. Wages, rent, rates still have to be paid with no income.

Start the new year £8,000 to £10,000 down. The joys of being a business owner I guess.

– Vince Hueston, Bristol

A time to make new memories with loved ones, and reminisce about Christmases gone by, remembering loved ones who are no longer with us.

– Maxïnê Sïån Jonês, Chippenham, Wiltshire
For many of you, Christmas is a time for family while others say it hits their business Credit: PA


Mary and Joseph get on their bikes in Bristol

Mary and Joseph make their way through the Cycling City Credit: ITV News

Bristol has hosted a nativity play with a difference. Members of a local theatre group and the Bible Society travelled through the city on bikes, performing the story, before the final scene in front of a large crowd on the harbourside.

Bible Society's research has found that 9 out 10 people don't regularly engage with the Bible. So we thought, 'Well, let's bring the Bible to Bristol

– Rachel Rounds, Bible Society

Jane Solomons went to see what all the fuss was about.

Pupils from Worle sing a "Candlight Carol"

Carols have been playing a key part to Christmas for centuries. Staff at St Mark's School in Worle near Weston-super-Mare have chosen a more modern work for their pupils to perform to get us in the festive mood.

Here the children are with Candlelight Carol - composed by a modern master of carols - John Rutter.

How Text Santa money helps the Teenage Cancer Trust

This Friday on ITV we will be asking for your help to raise as much money as we can for our Text Santa campaign. Thanks to your generosity we raised more than £5 million last year to be divided between six charities.

One of the charities is the Teenage Cancer Trust which has one of its largest centres in the country in Bristol. It supports young cancer patients from across the South West. Robert Murphy's been to meet Ben Winder, a young man who has been helped by the centre.

How Text Santa money helps the Alzheimer's Society

This Friday on ITV we will be asking for your help to raise as much money as we can for our Text Santa campaign. Thanks to your generosity we raised more than £5 million last year to be divided between six charities.

One of the charities to benefit is the Alzheimer's Society. Lise McNally has been to meet one couple who have been helped by the charity.

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