“If you’re alone or feeling lonely, follow the hashtag #joinin and start chatting with others there,” she wrote in a tweet shared Christmas morning:
Morning all and a Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. If you want some company – feeling lonely or low – then we are here. Always use the hashtag #joinin, that way people can see you. Let yourself be known to us. I’ve got the kettle on. Who wants a cuppa? pic.twitter.com/4gGlI0Di6C— Sarah Millican (@SarahMillican75) December 25, 2018
“[It’s] to bring together people who are on their own [on Christmas] and don’t want to be,” she told the show. “There are so many different reasons why people might be on their own and we just have a conversation on Twitter.”
She explained that when gets up on Christmas, she “set[s] the rules” and then retweets everybody using the hashtag, until everyone is having a conversation together.
It’s already helped some people in the past:
Millican said on Howard’s show that she sometimes gets messages as early as September from people asking her if she will be doing #JoinIn over Christmas for the year.
This year, many are sharing deeply personal—sometimes funny, sometimes painful, sometimes resilient—stories:
Husband has been in a vegetative state since 11/20 (my birthday) after contracting Legionella. Sitting by his bedside in the hospital for Christmas. It’s killing me. #joinin— cindy taylor (@dook_durham) December 25, 2018
Today, I made the choice to spend Christmas alone instead of with my abusive parents. I haven't gone to any family parties. I regret nothing. #joinin— The Sharktonaut (@TheSharktonaut) December 25, 2018
No one around to judge me, so Bailey's in the morning coffee and apple crumble for breakfast it is! #joinin— Fergus Guy (@KnightsToby) December 25, 2018
Some are opening up their (Twitter) doors to others:
Some are sharing their realizations of being alone during the holidays:
Your Christmas doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Sometimes the mess teaches us more. I see the #joinin tag and I remember that's exactly what Christmas is about: God decided to join in with us and our messy world.— Anastasia K. Bond (@AnastasiaKBond) December 25, 2018
@SarahMillican75 #joinin if you’re able to get out, I’ve always found a walk in nature to nurture the soul uplifts me. It seems more special when it’s so much quieter on Christmas Day. Nature becomes a gift just for you. pic.twitter.com/maTwNgoVoG— Alison Smith (@alisonrbcm) December 25, 2018
The holidays can be difficult for people for a number of reasons. But the threads inspired by #joinin bring out a unique unity through the honesty and vulnerability that people share. Millican admitted to Howard she’s addicted to the movement now. As she said, “I clearly can’t not even do it now, it’s so lovely.”