A Singles Thanksgiving

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - A Singles Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving for a single adult has some different nuances that married adults don’t have. For one, if there is family to be with, it is an easier decision to make to go see them than choosing which side gets which holiday this year. Singles, like married adults, may live in the same city as their parents or live miles and miles away, while some may still live with their parents.

But here is where Thanksgiving changes for singles. Those singles who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving are left over the holiday alone, with possibly no one to share it with. Even the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving can be stressful as everyone is talking about travel plans and big dinners, while some have no plans at all. Some singles with siblings are often given no opportunity to host Thanksgiving at their homes, rather the married family member gets priority. As the family grows, the single vote seems to be diminished somewhat to the siblings with spouses and kids.

The church you’re involved in needs to recognize these singles and organize some type of gathering for them leading up to Thanksgiving. You may be the one to organize such an event for your church. Also, there is an opportunity on Thanksgiving day for people to open their homes to those who have nowhere to be and offer them a seat at the table. If you’re a single adult with nowhere to be, let your friends know so they can bless you with a place to join in as family and give thanks to God above from whom all blessings flow.

NYE Countdown!

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - NYE Countdown

3….2….1…. Happy New Year!

Another year has gone and another one begins. Many singles in your ministry may not want to be alone come the drop of the ball. Starting the year off with friends and fellowship  is a great way to look forward to a brighter new year. What can your ministry do to help singles welcome in the New Year? Here are a few tips.

  1. Have a Party! No booze.
    Get some music, a DJ, an iPod and break out all the dance steps you can stand! Have lots of snacks and start around 8 pm to give plenty of time to bust a move. Don’t, however, have any alcohol or allow anyone to bring any. The idea that alcohol is needed to have a good time cannot be encouraged. If a single adult shows up inebriated to the event, be a bold leader and ask them to leave. Others will benefit from your no-tolerance stance. You may think this will be an issue in your group. Trust us, it can be. Be prepared to respond.
  2. Countdown to the New Year!
    Make sure when midnight comes you can count down together and share in the moment. It’s a great time to be loud and have fun.
  3. Make it a Formal Party.
    Lets face it, after high school the opportunities to dress for a nice party become fewer. Make your party a formal and encourage people to dress up. To share the memories, capture their photos as they enter the room. This is the perfect event for any of your dating singles to have a chance to dance with their partner and for those looking to steal a dance with someone they have interest in.
  4. Plan Early! Like, really early. You need to start telling your group 6 months ahead of time you are having a party. Most people make New Year’s Eve plans early and you want your group to know where and what you are doing so they can invite others. Starting the New Year with old friends and new is a good way to expand the group in a welcoming atmosphere.

About 15 minutes after the ball drops, have a leader say a word of prayer. Share about your ministry and opportunities for new people to get plugged in. Make sure to end your event 45 minutes to an hour after midnight. You want people to get home safely and the earlier the better for New Year’s Day. Have fun and welcome in another year with your singles group!

Curmudgeons Corner Valentine’s Day

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Curmudgeons Corner Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day!

As late winter exerts its seasonal charms (whether, in your region, that means snow turning to dirty slush, or dismal, chilling rain, or a cheery snot-fostering burst of early pollen…) our society arranged a trite holiday celebrating infatuation, and requiring (as all holidays do) an outlay of precious cash for proper observance. We’re conditioned to it early, from compulsory participation during most boys’ formative “I hate girls!” stage in elementary school; Valentine’s Day is Something You Have To Do. More particularly, it is Something You Have To Do So That Nobody’s Feelings Get Hurt. That, too, is reinforced in the elementary school classroom, where everyone has to give everyone else a valentine–or else!

Naturally, once freed from the classroom and out in the world, the hearts of the young and single on this special day, turn lightly to thoughts of self-pity, anxiety, and that special sort of wishful thinking that easily degenerates into resentment. “Does anyone care about me? Am I sending the right messages to anyone I care about? Would spending more money help?

Whose idea was this horrible annual ritual, anyway? Is there someone I can sue?”

Since the historical St. Valentine’s connection to romantic love is far from clear, it surely wasn’t HIS idea. Some suspect church officials trying to replace a previous pagan festival, “Lupercalia”, which involved sacrificing goats and running around naked. (I would apologize to the Pagan-American Community for perpetuating stereotypes, but it so happens that Lupercalia involved precisely those behaviors.) In any case, it was probably a rather pleasant festival until modern advertisers got hold of it and began carefully shaping our anxieties so that they could subtly suggest spending money to assuage them.

The earliest commercially printed Valentine cards appeared in Victorian England. In those times, however, things which were commercially produced were considered a bit impersonal for the expression of affection. Instead, the Comic Valentine became popular. These ancestors of the grade-school mass-produced Valentine seem more appropriate, today, to April Fools’ day, rather than to February 14. A typical example has a gorilla in a bonnet, with the legend “One Of Your Ancestors”; another one shows a leering rogue declaring “It is your pocket full of cash that I would wed, my beauty!”

Comic Valentines

Comic Valentines mocked their recipients soundly, with insulting caricatures and verses; a casual examination of these barbed little taunts might well lead to a feeling of gratitude that whatever February 14 brings, it won’t be a postman trudging along to hand=deliver an insult. Yet, contrarian that I am, I can’t help but thinking the Victorians might have been on to something. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” says the Proverb, “but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Would you rather receive an insincere insult–or an insincere compliment?

Whether flirting or just commiserating with friends on Valentine’s Day, you might do better to regard the commercial pressure of the holiday with the cynicism it deserves–and restore a little of the playfulness that made Valentine’s a whimsical relief from the dreary last days of winter. And in the end the seasons always do that–one more reason not to let this one get you do.