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5 Ways to Network During the Holidays

While the holidays are a great time to take a break from the usual craziness of daily life, they’re also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and family you’ve been neglecting while busy working and parenting and writing all year. If you’re traveling to see family, use this time to reconnect with those who know you well and to get in touch with old friends you haven’t seen for months, even years. If you’re staying in town, throw a dinner party, attend a New Year’s Eve bash, or just meet a friend for coffee. Take a break from your usual routine to eat, drink and reconnect. As much as I love social networking, nothing beats networking in person. Here are a few ideas for networking over the holidays:


(Photo courtesy of Will Montague via Creative Commons)

Happy Holidays!

1. Host a game night

My husband and I are big board game players (Settlers of Catan, Dixit, Ra), and one of our favorite evening activities is to invite four friends over for a six-person game night. We order food, so no one has to cook, and we put the kids to bed, so we have no distractions. For those who don’t like competition, there are some great collaborative board games out there, too.

2. If you have kids, host a cookie-baking, ginger bread house-making, or snowflake-cutting party. It’s not too late!

Every year we invite a few of my children’s friends and their parents over to make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers (because it’s less expensive than buying gingerbread kits and easier than making homemade gingerbread houses and because the kids don’t have to worry about breaking the crackers. There’s a whole box.) They all have fun, they stay focused and occupied for hours, and they each get something to take home while you get to network with their parents.

3. Host a wine tasting party

The trickiest part of planning a wine tasting party is deciding which wines to taste. You can have all red or a mix of reds and whites. You can buy every varietal from the same winery or have your friends bring their favorites. Whatever you do, make a spreadsheet to keep track of who’s bringing what, and make the tasting blind for more fun. (Just go to your local liquor store and grab a bunch of paper wine bags to hide the wine bottles.) We make forms for everyone to fill out to guess which varietal, year, and region each wine comes from, and the person who gets the most correct answers wins a prize—something like this great Wine Smarts game. Wine tasting parties are a great way to network with friends, neighbors and co-workers!

4. Host or attend a New Year’s Eve party

We’re getting older, and babysitters are hard to come by on New Year’s Eve, so we tend to stay in and invite a few friends with kids over. The adults drink champagne while the kids drink sparkling cider. There’s a lot of food and music and everyone competes to make the coolest paper snowflakes to hang from the ceiling. Whether you decide to go out on the town or invite friends over, use New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

5. Meet a friend for coffee or a drink.

There’s nothing like spending hours catching up with a close friend at a coffee shop or a bar. Near my house there’s a great little pub that serves alcohol, tea, and hot chocolate. You can bring your own food and play Scrabble by the fireplace while reminiscing about old times and making plans for future times.

What about you? Do you have any social plans for the holidays? Do you plan to see family and old friends or get out and make new ones?

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