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✦ For many Christ­mas is a joy­ous time but for oth­ers it is lone­some – those who have lost loved ones or their chil­dren aren’t in the fam­ily nest any more. Three months af­ter my mother’s death, I faced a Christ­mas alone. How­ever, I de­cided it wasn’t go­ing to be a sad one. Near my home there was a girl who earned her liv­ing sell­ing the news­pa­per for the job­less and home­less and I was a reg­u­lar buyer. She lived in a lodg­ing house

and had no-one to cel­e­brate with. On Christ­mas Eve I bought the pa­per and in­vited her to din­ner at my place. Christ­mas Eve is cel­e­brated in many parts of Spain with a fam­ily din­ner, carol singing and games un­til dawn and this is what we did. We lost touch, but that Christ­mas Eve din­ner helped to soothe my grief. Feel­ing lonely? Surely there’s some­one in your neigh­bour­hood who is alone, too. Vicky Pino, Madrid

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