Now that Thanksgiving is over, the season of Christmas (and Christmas parties) is upon us. Office parties. White elephant gift exchanges. Ugly sweater parties. You may have more social opportunities in this one month than you do for the rest of the year. And these once-a-year festive gatherings can be a great way for singles to meet and mingle. Here are four ways to get the most out of holiday events.
1. Dress the part. Unlike many events throughout the year, holiday gatherings often require dressier attire. Whether your invite indicates formal, semi-formal or cocktail attire, look up the terminology online and choose an appropriate outfit. If your event doesn’t specify attire or says something vague, such as “festive attire encouraged” (that was on my husband’s office party invite), take the opportunity to dress a little snazzier than usual. Lots of ideas can be found online by searching “holiday party outfits.”
2. Stand out from the crowd. I devoted a whole post to this concept a few years ago. But seriously, use holiday events as an opportunity to strike out from your familiar group of friends and meet new people. Be approachable. Ask engaging questions. Articles that talk about leveraging the office party for career advantage suggest that you meet the people you want to meet. That’s good advice for singles, too. Be intentional in how you mingle.
3. Take a date. Many times Christmas parties are a “plus one” sort of affair. Inviting the person you’ve had your eye on can create an easy opportunity for a first date. You can also use this tactic if your church is offering a group holiday outing, such as going to see Christmas lights at the zoo or going to a Christmas concert. You can even set up your friends. When I planned an outing to the Nutcracker Ballet during college, I made sure my brother and my best friend were paired up. Sixteen Christmases later (my age is showing) they are happily married with five children.
4. Show impartiality. Contrary to some of the things I’ve said in this post, it’s not all about the date. Don’t miss out on getting to know people of all ages and stages — not just the guy or girl you have a crush on. Participating in your church’s Christmas choir concert or attending a church volunteer brunch can be great ways to meet new people, experience community and gain some holiday cheer. And who knows — the networking might even produce a romantic connection in the future. (According to the Wall Street Journal, a 2012 study showed that 30 percent of married couples met through friends.)
Of course, you can try all of these tips and your holiday still may not unfold like a Hallmark Movie. I remember feeling disappointed more than once when my hope for meeting someone at Christmastime was disappointed. But the quest for community is worth it. God designed community, and the holidays can provide a lot of opportunities to engage with others. So go for it. Make the most of your holiday events this year.