There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet

Posted: 21st December, 2023 in Case Studies, Marketing Services, Motivation, PR & press, Strategy & planning

When I think of Christmas, I imagine many people find it to be a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. They jump at the chance to meet up with their families and friends, to relax and enjoy the festivities.

This is the Christmas we frequently see portrayed in countless films, advertisements and marketing campaigns. It is presented as precious moments when we create beautiful memories. Everyone is happy and everything is perfect. 

I firmly believe this may be the case for lots of families; however sadly, it is not the same for everyone.

Many people dread this time for various reasons. Difficult family situations, broken relationships and loneliness often come to the forefront of people’s lives at Christmas. It amplifies feelings of sadness, rejection and grief amongst others.

Whilst I realise it’s important to celebrate life and treasure these wonderful occasions, I also feel it’s important not to forget those less fortunate too. There are a lot of older people living on their own.They don’t want to be a burden or bother others. Yet, their isolation is intensified at Christmas. 

It was quite refreshing to come across the clever, yet very innovative Christmas video produced by “Charlies Bar” in Enniskillen recently. 

Produced on a mobile phone and at the cost of a round of drinks and a newspaper, the short film features an old man leaving his home with a bunch of flowers as he heads to the grave of his loved one. Walking on down the street, where no one stops to talk. He goes for a pint and a dog belonged to a young couple pops over to join him, followed by the couple too.

The clip finishes with the name of the bar and a quotation from W.B Yeats “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet”.

Launched on 24 November, the viral clip won the hearts of million around the world in just one week.The owner manager of Charlie’s Bar, Ms Una Burns was completely surprised by its success and said the team were “over the moon”. 

Motivated to highlight the sad reality of aloneness, Ms Burns went on to say that “sadly, thousands of people across Northern Ireland experience loneliness and this is only heightened at Christmas time – which is why it is so important to show kindness, as our ad showed a smile or a simple hello can go a long way”.

With millions of views and thousands of good-will messages from around the globe, the owner manager realised she could use her platform to help raise money and awareness for the elderly community in Northern Ireland.

Incredibly, Charlie’s Bar went on to team with a local business to launch a range of clothing to tackle loneliness in older people. All proceeds going to Age Northern Ireland and South West Age Partnership

In my opinion, I believe that if there was ever a business that deserved the recognition, its definitely Charlie’s Bar. Using their success to benefit others is such a gracious and humble gesture.

It also reminds me of a quote by the American Author Rick Warren who once wrote:

“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back…”. 

But let me add, “Yet we will get so much more back – joy, love, solace and inner happiness”.

On that note, let me wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Share this article:

< back to blog