If you're not able to be with friends or family on Christmas Day, you don't need to be alone. Join a Newcomers Network function instead.
Newcomers Network was founded by Sue Ellson in 2006 following a suggestion from a newly-arrived French migrant, Lise Saugeres, especially as a way for people who are new to a city to spend time with others on Christmas Day.
According to Sue Ellson, the events are open to everyone and are especially popular with newly arrived migrants, people who have moved to a new city from elsewhere in Australia, international students and even tourists.
“There are many reasons why someone might be alone, or away from family and friends on Christmas Day. Newcomers Network is just a nice way for people not to be alone.
“We have also welcomed locals that may include single parents with or without their children, older singles, young singles, couples looking for something different to do, carers of people with a disability, people with dogs on a lead, people whose parents have passed away, homeless people who do not want to be at a charity venue and people who have not received an invitation to join a celebration with anyone they know.”
She said Newcomers Network also welcomes people who do not celebrate Christmas as a religious occasion.
“Most people at work will ask you ‘what are you doing for Christmas’ or ‘what did you do for Christmas’ so it is really nice to be able to say that you enjoyed a nice relaxed picnic in the park.”
Sue Ellson said shy people are especially encouraged to join.
“It takes a lot of courage for people to attend an event on their own. But once they are there, they will be welcomed and encouraged to mix and mingle with the other guests.
“It’s important to simply talk or even just ask questions – start with easy topics like the weather or ‘what you love about Melbourne’ – or wherever you’re meeting - and the rest will follow.”
The events are catered for by bringing your own food and drink which can be shared, or just be enough for the individual.
Children are also encouraged to bring sports equipment to play with and pets are welcome provided they are on a lead.
The get-togethers will be held between 12 noon and 3pm on Christmas Day. For further information and to register, visit www.newcomersnetwork.com