Reaching Out to Others

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.

“Reaching Out to Others”

by Jan Fowler

We often think of holidays as a season of love and cheer, but for many it’s a time of loneliness and social isolation.  While most of us look forward to sharing holiday merriment with family and cherished friends, not everyone is that fortunate.

So if you happen to be among those who will be alone this holiday season, although you may feel alone, millions of others are also in the same boat.

Sometimes people dread the holidays because they are reminded of lost loved ones and so they plan a trip to a fun destination because it helps them escape the feelings of sorrow which might overcome them if they stayed at home.

If you happen to be dreading feeling lonely this holiday season, I would encourage you to take the initiative yourself to arrange a joint celebration with friends, neighbors, students, and perhaps fellow workers. People will love you for giving them something to look forward to.

One of the best ways to broach the subject with others is to just ask directly, “What are you doing for the holiday?” because they will probably respond by asking you the same question.  To which you could reply, “I haven’t made any plans yet.  Would you like to get together?”

Then you might even decide to take it a step further by inviting others over to your own home to share a meal and holiday cheer.  Bear in mind that there are many people who might not invite you to their house because they don’t feel they have enough space, but they would gladly accept an invitation to come to your place.

It’s very helpful and important to keep a positive attitude to beat those holiday blues. And in case you’d be willing to host a celebration at your home, potlucks are wonderful because they not only take the back-breaking strain off giant food preparations (and expenses), but your guests may very well welcome the distraction of preparing a food dish to bring.

Or rather than staying at home brooding, you might seek out an opportunity to volunteer to help serve disadvantaged people by working at a Salvation Army kitchen, helping to cook, serve, or deliver food to those who are poor, ill, or low on resources. David and I have served food at the Salvation Army several years in a row, and found it extremely gratifying.

It’s so easy to withdraw if you don’t have an invitation to a holiday dinner, but there is always someone less fortunate than us whom we can be a blessing to.

If nothing else, there are many patients in hospitals and nursing homes who would love to have a visitor stop in and offer to talk, sing, or read to them, not to mention surprising them with a small trinket or holiday ornament.

When we brighten someone else’s day, we invariably brighten our own, right?


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