A quarter of Dutch are lonely on Christmas

Christmas tree in Havelte
Christmas tree in Havelte. (G.Lanting / Wikimedia Commons)

Most Dutch celebrate Christmas at home with friends and family, but a quarter of are lonely over the holidays, according to a survey among 3,342 people by the Salvation Army, AD reports.

The survey showed that 66 percent of Dutch celebrate Christmas with family and friends. Almost 40 percent mainly see the holidays as an opportunity to eat good food. 20 percent celebrate the birth of Jesus. And over 10 percent see Christmas mainly as a period of stress and obligations. Almost half of Dutch give gifts to others on Christmas. A majority of this group spend more than 50 euros on this.

79 percent of respondents think that people in the Netherlands feel more lonely at Christmas. And 24 percent said that they actually feel lonely around the holidays. While there is mass willingness among the population to do something against loneliness during Christmas, only half of Dutch pay extra attention to others during the season. Almost a third of Dutch do nothing to reduce the loneliness of others during Christmas, but would like to. 

The Salvation Army believes that this needs to change. "We have to take action. For our fellow man, whether or not you believe in the Christmas story. And let us take a practical approach", Hannelise Tvedt, commander of the Salvation Army, said to the newspaper. "Have coffee with your aunt, instead of sending a WhatsApp message. Or bring a few homemade oliebollen to your single neighbor."

Tvedt would also like to see churches and the faithful, including her own Salvation Army, make more room for the neighborhoods in which they operate in their Christmas programs. "Of the people who do not go to church at Christmas, three out of ten would consider doing so if they can celebrate together with people who are less fortunate or neighbors. Or if there is a joint Christmas meal and also more entertainment."

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