PRESS RELEASE: Christmas: The most wonderful time of the year or the loneliest season of all?

Is Christmas the most difficult time for the bereaved?

For many, Christmas is the season to enjoy quality time with family and friends, yet for others it can be incredibly lonely – especially for those who’ve recently suffered a bereavement.

Research from our Biggest Ever Survey into death, dying and bereavement reveals that for a fifth (21%) of Brits, Christmas is the hardest time to deal with the loss of a loved one¹. A further tenth (8%) claim that the first Christmas following a death is when it truly hits home that that person is no longer there².

For the majority of Brits, December evenings become booked up with get-togethers and Christmas dos, as the eagerly anticipated 25th December quickly approaches. Yet for almost a fifth (18%) of recently bereaved Brits, evenings are found to be one of the loneliest times of day, along with bedtime (21%) and first thing in the morning (11%).

It seems that during such times many turn to their pets for companionship, as further research from Co-op finds that over a quarter (26%)³ of UK adults have spent more than one Christmas Day with nobody but their animal companion. The study shows that a third (32%) of men have spent Christmas Day with their pet more than once, as opposed to under a fifth (17%) of women. Surprisingly, a fifth (21%) of Brits aged between 18 and 24 claim to have spent a quiet Christmas Day with just their pet.  

Our Director of Funerals, David Collingwood said: "Going through a bereavement can be incredibly hard and certain times of year tend to magnify feelings of sadness, as they bring back memories of happier times and old traditions.

"As Christmas is such a family orientated time of year, it comes as no surprise that many people find this the toughest time to cope with their grief. It’s so important that communities come together, ensuring where possible that nobody is left to spend Christmas alone."

We host a range of community activities over the Christmas period to support those who may be lonely or who have recently lost a loved one. With over 200 events taking place across the UK, from bereavement clubs to memorial services, there’s something for everyone to get involved with. For more information, contact your nearest Co-op Funeral home.


¹ Co-op’s biggest ever survey into death dying and bereavement was conducted by You Gov from 7th May to 14th June 2018 among over 30,000 UK adults
² Research conducted by Atomik on behalf of Co-op Funeralcare with 2,000 UK adults in February 2018
³ Research was conducted among 2,000 pet owners in November 2018 on behalf of the Co-op by Atomik Research

For further information contact

Sarah Pyatt

Press Officer

Emily Penkett

PR Manager