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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/The Alexandra
While so many people find Christmas to be the most wonderful time of the year, for others the reality isn't quite so magical.
Rather than being inundated with Christmas party invites or complaining about having to 'do the rounds' to catch family members dotted around the country, some people find themselves sitting at home with no one to turn to.
The folk at Alexandra in Wimbledon are inviting people to join them on Christmas Day, when they'll be serving up festive scran and booze for those who might need some company for whatever reason.
It won't be the first time they've managed this feat, having been running the initiative for several years now - the pub gave away 109 dinners last year, and staff anticipate an even bigger crowd this time round.
Advertising the event on its Facebook page, the pub wrote: "It's the same deal this year, it's FREE. That means free food, free booze, and if we can rustle something up a free prezzie too.
"Every year I get asked loads of times, 'Ah, but what do you mean FREE?' Well what we mean is, you don't have to pay, to tell the truth you can't pay because we won't take your money.
"FREE means FREE, I can't get any clearer than that.
"You don't need to book, in fact you can't, we try and serve everyone between midday and 3pm (we've never once managed it yet, but that's what we try and do anyways). The ONLY stipulation we make is, you have to be on your own on Christmas day.
"That's it, no other rules, you don't have to sign up and give us your email address (we don't want it), you don't have to be a regular here (I don't mind if you've never been in before and never plan to visit ever again) and you don't have to live local (we don't care where you live, people come from miles away)."
Had my first "yeah but what do you mean, FREE?" yesterday. I know, it sounds a bit suspect by I assure you it isn't. If you are on your own on Christmas day, come to us. We'll give you a FREE Christmas dinner, and some FREE wine/beer. We gave away 109 dinners last year, COME! pic.twitter.com/XfFAJdYEQW
- The Alexandra (@TheAlexSW19) December 6, 2019
Owner Mick told the Metro that most of their regulars are over 50 years old, but they also get retail staff who can't make it back to their families due to shift work.
He said: "The majority of people who come to us are recently widowed, living on their own.
"The sort of people who draw their curtains and pretend they're going to see their sister in Worthing and not leave the house."
Mick continued: "We get people who work in retail and have to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
"If they're from up north, they can't go home. They might be the only ones left in their flat so they're stuck on their own."
With the support of other local companies and organisations - who donate drink, food and more - Mick and his team have been able to make it a solid knees-up for the community.
He added: "Last year we did 109 three course meals. If anything we're expecting a few more this year."
The Alexandra's Christmas Day lunches have proven to be such a huge hit that Mick and fellow landlord Sarah have even managed to roll out the concept, having now set up weekly 'Meet Up Mondays' lunches for the community, encouraging them to nip out for a few hours to socialise in a friendly space.
Fills your heart full of Christmas cheer doesn't it?