Most everyone loves the holidays. It’s a time that we usually spend with family, friends, and our significant other. But if you’re an unattached single, the holidays can be an unpleasant time that you just want to get through as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you allow yourself to think beyond traditions and obligations, you can create circumstances that make the holidays a joyous and fulfilling experience whether you have a romantic partner or not. Let’s first look at the way things are and then we’ll look how things could be.
The holidays that I am referring to are Halloween, Thanksgiving (U.S.) or other national observance, Christmas or other religious celebration, and especially Valentine’s Day. All of these events are geared toward couples, as most of society is.
Even if you get invitations from family or friends to attend holiday celebrations, it’s not too uplifting when you consider that it will be mostly couples and children who will be there. When you attend these functions, there is often a subtle awkwardness to being the only adult single.
When it comes time to sit down to a meal, you’re the hard one to seat since most tables are designed to accommodate an even number of chairs. Yes, even table settings were designed for couples.
If you don’t have kids and each holiday event is centered around children, this can be tiring as well. If the children are spoiled and loud, it can be downright maddening. You don’t want to spend your holidays watching children play, you want to have stimulating conversations with adults who are like you.
No one in attendance truly understands how you feel. Even if some of them were single for a period, it’s easy to forget what it’s like once you have a solid relationship.
Here’s an alternative. If you want to really enjoy the holidays and be around other people who share your lifestyle, organize your own holiday events with your single friends. I bet you’ll have a lot more fun. I know that I have.
The holiday parties that you organize with your single friends may take the place of certain events or be an addition to others. For example, you might have Thanksgiving dinner with only your singles friends and split the time around Christmas between gatherings with your family on Christmas Eve and a brunch or dinner party with your singles friends on Christmas day.
Keep in mind that there will likely be singles in your group who don’t have any family functions to go to on holidays for a variety of reasons. Or they may simply choose to attend the singles events over family activities because they enjoy them more.
You will not have to do all the work for these holiday parties, just start the tradition! Here’s how. Put together one or two events that you particularly enjoy with a couple of your single friends. Invite your favorite single friends and encourage them to invite a certain number of their single friends depending on the event you’re putting together. For example, the number of guests for a dinner party would be much smaller than the number for a Halloween party
Create a sign-up form with these fields.
- List of all the possible holiday events for the next 6-12 months.
- Space next to each event so that people can select which one they will host by entering their name.
- Space at the bottom (or on a separate sheet) so that everyone can enter their contact information – name, email, and phone.
Tip: Attach your sign-up form to a clipboard and connect a pen to it using a string. This will help the process go smoother and the information will be more legible.
At the appropriate time, perhaps just before the food is served, ask the group if they want to make this an ongoing tradition for holidays throughout the year. If they are in favor of it, tell them about your sign-up form. Then ask them to enter their name next to the holiday event they will host and their contact information at the bottom. Also ask for a volunteer to create and maintain a Google Calendar, Google+, Facebook page, or website for the group so that everyone can stay up-to-date on event hosts, dates, times, and locations. Post event host names as soon as possible to solidify their commitment — singles tend to be flaky.
Send out a short email to all participants after your event to establish contact, review the plan, and provide the URL address and link to your new Google Calendar, Google+, Facebook page, or website.
If you get enough members (25 +), you can consider adding more activities like brunches and mixers. If the group shows promise for significant growth, you can consider starting your own singles club! Then you can add dances, trips, and more to your schedule. I wrote an article that will help you entitled, “Singles Club! – How to Build a Successful Singles Organization.”
Here are some holiday party ideas for singles.
The best parties for singles that I’ve ever attended are Halloween parties where costumes are required. This particular party gives everyone the opportunity to be and be with their fantasy. The costumes also allow people to “mask” their shyness and be bold behind the character that their costume represents. Attending or hosting an annual Halloween party is a must for singles.
I always went to these parties as a combination of a rocker, biker, pirate, and hippie. It was great fun. I once went to one that was hosted by a group of Sterling Institute of Relationship “Weekend” graduates, of which I was one. It was electrifying!
If you expect a lot of people to show up, rent a public or private facility, hire a DJ for dancing, have a no-host bar, and charge a fee to cover the costs. The possibility of damage to your home and the work to clean up the mess just isn’t worth it.
Another possibility is to arrange to have the party at a local restaurant or bar. Many restaurant and bar owners will be happy to accommodate you for free or at a nominal charge to get your business.
Thanksgiving (US) or Other National Holiday
Having a Thanksgiving dinner party with your singles friends can really be a nice affair. Since the cost can be quite significant, I recommend doing it potluck style where everyone brings a dish. The host typically cooks the turkey.
Single friends who don’t know how to cook can simply buy their food or beverage contribution. Encourage them to make food purchases at restaurants or grocery stores that specialize in Thanksgiving dinners.
If you and the majority of your single friends are vegetarian or vegan, you could do a vegan Thanksgiving dinner and save a turkey from execution! If your group is a mixture between animal and plant-based diets, you could either have two separate parties or just have a vegan dinner with an open invitation to all.
A great alternative to preparing the meal yourselves is to go to a restaurant that is offering a special Thanksgiving dinner. This option eliminates all the work of preparation and cleaning up.
An uplifting activity for this event is to have everyone talk about what he or she is grateful for in their life and/or in the world. Rather than putting people on the spot by going around the table, let each person speak when they are ready or inspired to do so.
Christmas or Other Religious Holiday
Having a party with your single friends on Christmas can be a refreshing change from family events. This can be particularly true if your family gatherings on Christmas tend to be unpleasant experiences.
Having a dinner party at someone’s home or at a restaurant is a good choice for this holiday. If you have a good size group of about 20 or more, find a restaurant that will give you a private room for free or for a small fee (which can be split up in some way). This will make it much nicer. You can also negotiate with the restaurant owner or manager to give you a fixed price menu with several main course and dessert options. This makes it much easier and more equitable when it comes time to pay.
A fun activity for Christmas parties is to have each person bring an inexpensive, humorous, provocative, or clever gift. The maximum dollar amount for gifts is prearranged and they are exchanged by drawing numbers. Or you could follow the white elephant gift exchange style or come up with your own rules. Being a singles party, you might make it a requirement that the gifts be related to the singles lifestyle in some way.
I wrote an article about this holiday that will give you plenty of ideas entitled, “14 Ways to Have a Great Valentine’s Day With or Without a Partner.”