One in every 25 pensioners faces being alone over Christmas, according to an Age UK survey.
It estimates that 450,000 over-65s will be by themselves. Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “This is a chilling outlook for too many older people.”
The poll of 1,100 people aged 65 and over from across the UK found that 26% are not looking forward to December 25.
Of these, 17% said the festive period brought back too many memories of those who had passed away.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: "As we head towards Christmas this is a chilling outlook for too many older people. What's even more concerning is that the majority of older people facing Christmas alone are aged 80 or over, making them the most vulnerable and at risk at this time of year.
"People's social networks often shrink due to life-changing events such as retirement and bereavement which can increase the risk of feeling lonely, and we are extremely concerned that this - coupled with on-going cuts to local authority budgets - means that even more older people will feel lonely this winter."
Ms Abrahams urged people to put any isolated older people in contact with the charity.
She also urged people to check on an elderly neighbour or relative to help make the festive season something to look forward to.