With the festive season in full swing, new research commissioned by Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for people in later life, reveals the role of singing in marking the festive season, and in spreading comfort and joy.
In response, Anchor is launching #CarollingAtChristmas by hosting a festive singalong for residents, colleagues and loved ones, and encouraging the nation to host their own singalongs with friends and family.
Anchor’s research uncovers the moments that truly make us feel festive. Hearing festive songs is one of the nation’s favourite ways to mark the start of the festive season (31%), topped only by putting up the tree or decorating for Christmas (40%), and seeing festive lights go up (33%).
Carols are such a centrepiece of the festive season that they outshine many other festive activities. People are twice as likely to be looking forward to singing or listening to festive songs and carols (24%) than seeing a pantomime (12%) and 30% of the nation prefer Christmas carols to modern Christmas pop or rock songs.
When it comes to the battle of the carols, Silent Night comes in at number one as the nation’s favourite (31%), followed by We Wish You a Merry Christmas (21%), O Come All Ye Faithful (14%), O’ Little Town of Bethlehem (12%), and Hark the Herald Angels Sing (12%).
Peter Bond, 72, who lives at Anchor’s Cambray Court in Cirencester, reflects on the magic of singing, especially at Christmas:
“I’ve always enjoyed singing, I’ve done it for over 50 years. I have never performed professionally, I do it because I enjoy it and because I want to give back. It’s therapeutic for me and I always encourage others to join in and enjoy singing too. I’m a proud member of Anchor’s Together Choir which meets every month, and it lets me pursue my passion, and share it with others. I’m looking forward to a festive singalong for #CarollingAtChristmas.”
At a time when 3.3 million people in Britain are chronically lonely – and with 1.4 million older people reported to feel lonely around Christmas time– Anchor is encouraging the nation to harness the power of singing to spread comfort and joy this festive period.
Seven in 10 (70%) people say singing brings people together, with 67% recognising how it helps different generations bond. Furthermore, Anchor found it’s not just social wellbeing that singing can improve. Sixty-nine per cent of the nation say music benefits their mental health and wellbeing – rising to 72% of older people.
Asa Johnson, Service Improvement Manager at Anchor, says:
“Our research clearly shows that singing is a core part of our nation’s festive traditions. We see the power of music every day in bringing joy to our residents – whether they’re singing in one of our Anchor choirs, or welcoming singers and local schoolchildren to sing at our homes.
“As England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for people in later life, we’re in a great position to nurture and support colleagues. There are always fun and interesting activities taking place across Anchor locations and colleagues enjoy making a positive impact on our residents’ lives – #CarollingAtChristmas is a great example of this.
“We’re calling on the nation to join in the fun and host their own singalong with loved ones using our downloadable lyric sheets and there’s no better time than during the festive season.”
To mark #CarollingAtChristmas, Anchor is hosting a virtual singalong for its residents, colleagues and loved ones, including a recital from Anchor’s Together Choir – which brings together residents and colleagues from across the country – and special guests Thames Ditton Junior School in Surrey. Anchor has created downloadable lyric sheets featuring much-loved Christmas carols so people can host their own singalong and join in the celebrations online using #CarollingAtChristmas.
#CarollingAtChristmas is one of the many ways Anchor is marking the festive season. Across the country colleagues and residents will be coming together to enjoy Christmas meals, tree decorating, Christmas cake decorating competitions and a Christmas card competition.