Thousands of Victorians are preparing for the toughest Christmas of their lives, Victoria’s peak social advocacy body has warned.
VCOSS says many Victorians are experiencing unemployment or poverty for the first time this Christmas.
In addition, many people who battle chronic loneliness are watching other families reunite and celebrate together after being separated through the worst of COVID.
“Christmas is really rough for many people,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“It’s a time of joy for many, but also a period of longing, loneliness and heartache for others.”
Ms King said the pressure to give Christmas presents and attend events places immense financial pressure on many low-income earners.
“Not everybody can buy gifts or attend a Christmas party.”
“These are discretionary expenses many Victorians simply cannot afford.”
“If you’re struggling to pay the bills and worrying about other expenses in the New Year, then costly Christmas rituals are out of the question.”
Ms King is urging people doing it tough to talk with their friends, neighbours and local community organisations, and to ask for help is they need it.
“Community organisations exist to make life a little easier, so please reach out for support,” she said.
She also warned about the dangerous use of ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes, and racking up credit card debts to pay for Christmas expenses.
Starting 2022 saddled with debt is a recipe for disaster, she warned.
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