The Childline service recorded a 13% increase in the number of calls it received from troubled children and young people on Christmas Day.

A spokeswoman for Childline said it received a total of 895 calls, texts and emails for a variety of reasons, including from people experiencing loneliness, isolation, depression and family difficulties.

She said the increased number of contacts on Christmas reflects a wider trend this year whereby more and more children and young people are seeking to avail of its services.

The ISPCC's director of services Caroline O'Sullivan said it is always concerned about children at this time of year.

"Children undoubtedly love getting gifts at Christmas time, but for the children that we speak to every Christmas, what they want and need is to be happy, to be loved, to feel special and to have a Christmas worth remembering," she said.

"While Childline will not be able to solve these children's issues or concerns on Christmas Day, what we can and will continue to do is to listen, believe, empower these children.

Most importantly of all we will show these children through our words and actions that they are worthwhile, that we do care and that we will always be there when they need us".

Alice Leahy, founder of the homeless organisation Trust, said she had found Christmas this year "heavy going". Trust had seen an increase in the numbers of Irish homeless people seeking its assistance this year, although overall numbers remained relatively steady.

"Many of our clients get very depressed and stressed at this time of the year. We were busier on Christmas Eve than any other day of year," she said.

"We are seeing that people are more down and more needy. I think what we are seeing as well is an awful lot people generally are awfully down about the state of economy and society."

However, despite fears that the recession might have a negative impact, Trust's level of donations was actually up on last year as people sought to help where they could.

Other organisations working with vulnerable people, including St Vincent de Paul, have also noticed an increase in demand over Christmas.

St Vincent de Paul recently revealed that it expected to deliver a hamper of toys, vouchers or food to up to 100,000 households across the state this Christmas. This represented an increase of 25% on 2008, and included many deliveries to "newly needy" homes.