While we all get inundated with holiday commercials—with Reese Witherspoon telling us we’re now best friends and delightful children in Target pajamas and cars with giant red bows on them—let’s remember that for some people this is the worst time of the year. The holidays can bring up memories of departed parents and other loved ones, or just a reminder that you may not have as many people in your life as others do.
British pub landlord Martin Lloyd realized this last year, when, post-divorce he was faced with a possibly lonesome Christmas. Instead, he opened his pub doors to welcome senior citizens who also might be feeling a bit lonely that holiday. Lloyd even offers transportation.
As he described the experience to British website Unilad, after announcing the dinner last year, “I was being offered free taxis, floral displays, flowers, the veg man donated, the meat man donated, my wine supplier donated, my brewery donated.” Locals also donated presents for the guests and volunteered to wait tables and wash dishes.
The event was such a hit, Lloyd tells Unilad that he now plans to do it every year, with the announcement for the 2018 dinner already released. He expects between 50 to 60 guests this year, compared to last year’s 13. He worries a bit about not being able to handle the crowd if it gets too large: “I’m only a small pub, only a one-man band and I’ve got a tiny kitchen, it’s how much I can actually produce. I don’t want to be turning people away.”
But with any luck, his Christmas-themed generosity will inspire others to also open their doors to help people have a happy holiday. As Lloyd correctly notes, “If you’ve got no family around you at Christmas time, you’re sitting on your own and watching telly, and there’s all these Christmas movies of families coming together with all the hugs and kisses, and you’re sitting there thinking ‘I haven’t got anyone,’ it’s gutting.”