Christians have been encouraged to think about who they can include in their Christmas plans this year.
It's as new research reveals 80 per cent of single Christians say they find at least some aspects of Christmas difficult.
Around 500 Christians shared experiences of being single at Christmas in a survey commissioned by Christian organisation Single Friendly Church.
Forty-three per cent of respondents said that the week between Christmas and New Year is a difficult or lonely time.
Single Friendly Church campaign director Beth Collingridge told Premier it’s time for Christians and the Church to change the narrative around Christmas.
“One thing that really came out [of the research] was that the idea of church family doesn't apply to Christmas, and that actually it’s a time for real family to kind of cosy down with your kind of nuclear-related family.
“If we want to be the family of God, then we need to think about what that really means. And is that just when it's convenient for us? Or is that about sacrifice and surrender and welcoming in everybody?"
She added: “I think it's about working out who is going to be on their own for Christmas and thinking that it's not just the obvious candidates.
“A lot of people talked about how elderly people on their own often got invited for Christmas, but those who are younger, often got forgotten, or single parents whose kids might be spending Christmas with the other parents.”
The research also found that two-thirds of respondents said that their church does nothing to help people on their own on Christmas Day.
Collingridge urged churches to empower single people to be part of the solution. She suggested allowing them to organise events such as a walk, games night or coffee morning around Christmas and the New Year.
Single people were also asked what church events they enjoyed attending at Christmas. While carol services were popular with 70 per cent of respondents, almost half of respondents also said they attend Christmas Day services, which many churches treat as a family-focused affair.
Single Friendly Church has urged pastors to preach inclusive sermons that focus on the true meaning of Christmas and move away from “secular Christmas celebrations” that often focus on families.
Listen to Premier’s interview with Beth Collingridge here: