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Christmas NOEL Character hero

Christmas getting too much? Introducing NOEL

It’s Christmas, if you hadn’t already noticed from the relentless TV ads and underwhelming light-switch ons. But this year is set to be a bit different, with the prospect of a Covid Christmas dampening the usual buzz of office parties and family get-togethers. 

Whether you’re dreading the thought of virtual festivities, or relishing the excuse to eat turkey sandwiches in your pjs – there’s no doubt that this Christmas is going to be a strange one. But no fear, we’ve got a mate who can give you a hand this Christmas season. He’s called NOEL (pronounced like Edmonds, not joyeux) and he’s a Xmas pro. You’ve met his mate ALAN before, and his sage wisdom is just as important. 

Jokes aside, we all know Christmas can be a tough time for a whole host of reasons – add a global pandemic to the mix and things can feel even trickier. Studies show that at least one in ten of us feel unable to cope during the festive season, while more than a quarter of us feel pressured to have the perfect Christmas. (Spoiler – that does not exist, we repeat that does not exist). But NOEL is here to help with some solid advice for Christmas and beyond.


No Christmas will be the same, and that’s ok.  

With uncertainty clouding the holidays, it can be hard to conjure up the usual Christmas magic. This year we might not be squeezing twelve people around a four person table, or letting loose at the Xmas office party, but if there was ever an excuse to take the pressure off the festive season, it’s now. 

Big family celebrations are on hold (we’ll even miss Auntie Mable’s sherry-induced insults) and many people can’t afford to splash out on gifts this year, so it can help to remind yourself that this Covid Christmas is a one off. Next year the magic will be back, and in the meantime, we’ll still have roast potatoes and festive T.V specials to get us through. 


Open up the conversation, and be open about how you feel. 

The truth is, everyone is probably feeling a little weird this year. Acknowledging how we’re feeling and chatting to our loved ones can make us feel less alone. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean an empty social calendar and this year offers a chance to break the usual Christmas traditions and start new ones. Jump on a video call with your friends and fam to plan a virtual holiday and make Christmas work for you.


Enjoy what you can. 

You don’t have to swing from the rooftops singing Slade, but if you can take a moment to savour that mince pie, laugh at the crap dad joke on a Christmas jumper, or revel in the chance to watch Home Alone for the 27th year in a row, then do it. 


Give yourself something to look forward to. You’ll get through this. 

Granted it may take a while for things to head back to ‘normality’, but we’ve got high hopes for 2021. The past year has been tough on us all, so be kind to yourself and ditch the resolutions in favour of filling your calendar with things you can get excited about. 

Above all, remember that Christmas is only a day, fold up the naff knitwear until next year and roll on sunshine, live music and the return of holidays. Let’s face it, a boozy BBQ with your pals beats soggy brussel sprouts any day. 

Now you’ve met Noel, he’ll be popping up over the festive season and beyond to help you have a CALM Christmas and New Year.


Remember, if you or your mate are in need of immediate help, CALM’s helpline and webchat are open 5pm to midnight every day 0800 58 58 58.


Illustration by Elliot Kruszynski.

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