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How to combat loneliness this Christmas and New Year

It is the time of year when people are normally getting into the Holidays spirit. But with limits on gatherings in place, the countdown to the festive period has been somewhat muted this year. There are millions of lonely people in the country, the number has risen during the pandemic. Fortunately, there are ways we can connect with each other over the coming weeks.

Write to a stranger

There are mental health support organizations connecting lonely individuals via the written word, encouraging participants to share some of the challenges they have faced during lockdown as well as their tips for staying resilient.

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Phone a (new) friend

In the UK, The Silver Line operates a confidential telephone befriending service. It helps connect old people who are experiencing loneliness with volunteers willing to give their time for a friendly natter.

“The phone is almost universal, personal and a relatively inexpensive way to create social connection,” explains Robin Hewings, director of campaigns, policy and research at the Campaign to End Loneliness. “It’s a two-way thing, but not symmetrical so often one party is much more vulnerable.”

Become a volunteer

The volunteering landscape looks very different this Christmas due to the pandemic, but there are still many opportunities to help others. There are also nationwide volunteering opportunities with Meals on Wheels America, which delivers dishes to people who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals.

Walk and talk 

Taking a stroll with someone is an informal way of making a connection – and it’s still permitted under lockdown rules. If you don’t know any would-be ramblers in the area, you could join a local walking group to connect with other hikers.

“Walking groups are good for your health, but there’s also something wonderful about not directly facing someone that makes it easier to have a conversation,” says an expert.

Connect virtually with colleagues

Working from home can be lonely. If you or your colleagues feel disconnected from each other, find or build playful wellbeing and team building sessions.

The virtual workshops are fun and a great stress buster. Play in a group brings us into the present moment with a shared experience.

Source: Positive News

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Latest News USA

Keeping traditions alive during an unusual Holiday Season

This holiday season may look a bit different due to social distancing. But just because everyone is not physically together, doesn’t mean your family can’t share its favorite traditions.

The Olesen family of O&H Danish Bakery knows how important holiday traditions are to feeling connected to loved ones. Now in its fourth generation, the family-owned and operated bakery is sharing its best tips for creating holiday cheer from anywhere:

  • Celebrate virtually:In a survey commissioned by O&H conducted by SWNS Media Group and OnePoll, nearly 80 percent of respondents say time with family is their favorite part of the holiday season. Whether your tradition is a Christmas movie marathon, a caroling session around the piano or eating certain foods and baked treats, you can enjoy these activities together over video chat this year.
  • Share traditional foods:The sensory memories that good food creates are powerful. In fact, 44 percent of people say the holiday spirit wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t have their traditional holiday dessert.

If you are like many families, that favorite dessert is Kringle, a traditional Danish treat made of 36 layers of butter and pastry. Over the past 70 years, the award-winning bakery has shipped to more than 100 countries. This year, doorstep delivery makes it easy to order a traditional favorite for your own household or send a gift to family members near and far.

  • Plan ahead:When it comes to ordering gifts and specially baked treats, make sure to account for busy schedules and congested delivery services to ensure all your goodies arrive on time. Take note of shipping times and policies, as well as ordering deadlines for each company.
  • Create hygge:Evoking the sights, sounds and aromas of a typical holiday season will help make this year feel more cheerful. Take a cue from Danish culture and embrace hygge. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” it means creating a cozy atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life, such as the warm glow of candlelight or a steaming cup of cocoa — and there is no better time of year to do it than the holiday season.

This year might be especially difficult for families who are physically separated, but there are many ways to spread cheer and keep traditions alive.

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Latest News USA

Home — or anywhere but home — for the Holidays?

During the holidays, you may be seeking comfort, whether that’s the comfort of home — or anywhere but home.

With travel precautions making possibilities somewhat limited this year, you may not be able to take the exact trip you’ve been dreaming about. However, whether you leave home this holiday season, you can find the comfort you’re seeking in the following ways:

  • Revisit fond memories.If you can’t travel this holiday season, you can still take a trip down memory lane and safely relive your favorite trips and activities. Unearth your most prized travel mementos, such as pictures, ticket stubs and playbills, and make a scrapbook.
  • Home is where the food is.Looking to conjure the aromas and flavors of your childhood? Connect with family members and ask them for recipes. Craving the cuisine of a dream destination? Plan a themed cooking night. If you need a little assistance in expanding your culinary repertoire, consider a virtual cooking class or meal kit. Or simply venture out for a meal.
  • Cultivate culture.Like never before, the world is at our fingertips, from virtual experiences offering never-before-seen access to museums and cultural meccas to classes in literally everything. Let your fingers do the walking and immerse yourself in the culture, language, sights and sounds of your favorite destinations.
  • Plan your next trip.Yes, really. Recent data from Trivago shows that consumers are already planning for next year’s holiday season, particularly during the week of Christmas. Planning now can make this holiday season seem a little brighter. And if you are not comfortable booking travel too far from home just yet, explore possibilities just a train ride or short drive from your home. Travel sites like Trivago offer the ability to discover getaways that are still relatively close to home.

While you’re thinking of that dream trip, you don’t have to stay put. There is a whole world out there – whether it’s down the block, a short road trip away or accessed online — that can be visited safely with proper planning and precautions.

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Business Latest News

Amazon records ‘biggest holiday season’ ever in its history

New Delhi: Amazon has revealed that the company has witnessed its largest holiday shopping season so far this year, as independent businesses selling on Amazon surpassed $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday — an increase of over 60 per cent from last year.

More than 71,000 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide have surpassed $100,000 in sales this holiday season to date.

The company, however, did not disclose the figures for the entire year.

“Independent businesses selling on Amazon – nearly all of which are small and medium-sized businesses – are seeing record demand from customers so far this holiday season in the US and around the world,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“Independent businesses selling on Amazon worldwide have created an estimated 2.2 million jobs,” the company said.

American SMBs sold an average of 9,500 products per minute this holiday season to date.

Through Cyber Monday, 2020 has been the largest holiday shopping season so far in the company’s history.

In the US, beginning October 15 with Black Friday-worthy deals dropping daily during the Holiday Dash deals event and continuing through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customers shopped and saved big.

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Business Latest News

Amazon gives US holiday shoppers more delivery location options

San Francisco: As Amazon braces for the busy holiday shopping season, the e-commerce giant is giving shoppers in the US more location options to get their packages delivered.

So instead of getting their packages delivered to their houses, shoppers can get the orders shipped to a nearby Amazon physical retail store or an Amazon Hub location, the company said.

Amazon Hub is a network of contactless package pickup options, offering customers either an attended or unattended experience in neighbourhoods, cities and college campuses.

Amazon said it is giving shoppers more delivery location options because it wants to offer choices for customers to keep gifts a surprise and make sure that those gifting moments stay “spoiler free.”

The move may help the e-commerce giant cut last-mile delivery trips during the busy shopping season.

“This year many customers and their families are opting to stay home so the challenge of keeping those special gifts under wraps from family, friends or loved ones is going to be greater than ever,” John Felton, Vice President of Amazon Global Delivery Services, said in a statement.

“We’re helping customers keep their orders a surprise this year and have a number of ways we’re providing them more flexibility, control and convenience over their deliveries – whether that’s ordering to an alternative pickup location, tracking their package en route to their home, or consolidating their deliveries to a single day so they can plan ahead.”

The company said that this holiday season, customers can also enjoy the experience of hunting for great gifts and holiday deals while picking up their holiday order by selecting an Amazon 4-star or Amazon Books location as their delivery location.

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