Country Singles December newsletter
Nov 28, 2009 17:37 PST
COUNTRY SINGLES NEWSLETTER 11-28-09 Issue 138
I N T H I S I S S U E:
** Holiday Safety Pointers for Singles
** Match Gifts to Your "Love Level"
** Holiday Tipping for Your Year-Round Helpers
** The Best Gifts for Singles to Give
** National Singles News Briefs, including
-- Best night to give a party.
-- Sniffing out attraction.
-- Normal social "nerves," or phobia?
-- December date ideas
~~~~~ MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~~~~~
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Holiday Safety Pointers for Singles
As singles, we need to be extra vigilant about our safety, since we're
often out and about alone. This can be even more of a concern in the
holiday season, when unscrupulous folks expect you to be shopping and
The following tips are from police officers working in neighborhood
1. Pay attention. Be cautious about strangers approaching you for any
reason. (Ok, not so much at a singles event.)
2. Be alert. Making eye contact with people lets them know you see
3. Keep vehicle doors and windows locked. Lock packages in the trunk.
4. Have your keys in your hand before heading to your car; don't stand
in the parking lot fumbling for your keys. Same when approaching your
home; have the keys in hand immediately.
5. Don't use the key fob to open all car doors. Someone could sneak in
from the passenger side.
6. Don't overburden yourself with packages. If you have a lot to
carry, ask the store for help to your car, or make multiple trips to the
7. At home, keep doors and windows locked, even if you're stepping
outside for just a few minutes. For instance, if you're taking the
trash out the back door, be sure the front door is locked.
8. Keep the Christmas tree and packages away from windows or doors,
where they create a temptation for criminals to smash and grab.
9. When you're out of the house, even just for the evening, leave on a
light and the television or radio. Talk radio is good because it sounds
10. If you're going to be away, outdoor holiday lights and at least one
indoor light should be on timers or daylight detectors. Lights burning
24 hours a day suggest that you're not home.
SINGLES NEWS BRIEFS
Best night to give a party.
The Saturday between Christmas and New Year is a terrific night to give
a singles potluck party. The house is probably already decorated, and
lots of your friends have tasty leftovers to share. Plus after frantic
weeks of festivities and events, there's usually not much going on in
the last week of December. That Sunday night can also be a good party
night, since many people have the week off.
Sniffing out attraction.
The Associated Press reports on new companies that claim to do better
match-making because they include DNA testing, based on the theory that
we're most attracted to people with immune systems most dissimilar to
our own. However, the story quotes a professor of olfaction and human
behavior who says prospective matches should just swap t-shirts and
sniff. Other experts suggest that physical factors such as looks and
social factors such as personality are much more important to attraction
in the long run.
Normal social "nerves," or phobia?
We all get nervous at the prospect of attending social events when
we're out of practice, or facing a first date with someone really
interesting. But for some people fear of interacting with others
becomes a social phobia that interferes with daily life. According the
"USA Weekend," symptoms include excessive worry about events where
social interaction is expected, anxiety from being around others,
avoiding places and events where people gather, and difficulty making
friends and maintaining friendships. Counseling and/or medication can
help; discuss your concerns with your doctor. The website
SocialAnxietyDisorder.net has information.
Planning to divorce.
According to an article in the "New Yorker" magazine, 30% of married
women in America "do not intend to be with the man they are five years
Dating tips for couples are good for singles.
A recent "Wall Street Journal" article looked at the perils of couples
"dating" other couples to try to develop friendships. The tips are just
as relevant for singles dating: "Don't date your boss. Don't share
food on a first date. And don't sit there silently, letting others do
all the work. Do ask questions and share. Let the other person get a
word in edgewise."
Elderhostel not just for elders any more.
If you like the idea of group travel and educational programs as part
of the package, you may have envied the Elderhostel program that since
1975 has provided educational group travel, often with programs that
spend time at universities and colleges. Now the organization is
changing its name to Exploritas and opening most activities to anyone 21
or older. www.exploritas.org
Paris hosts fair for singles.
In this country they're referred to as "Bridal Fairs," those trade
shows that pop up in the Spring featuring everything you need to know to
get married. The Associated Press reports that recently a French
entrepreneur hosted the opposite -- a "New Start" fair in Paris, the
city's first trade show for singles, especially those recently divorced
or divorcing. An estimated 4000 people attended the fair. France's
divorce rate is nearly 50%.
December date ideas:
~'Tis the season of holiday festivals, fairs and events. Happily, many
are free or can be combined into interesting dates, such as a drive out
looking at Christmas lights, and a stop for dessert.
~Mon., Dec. 14: Peak night for the Geminids meteor shower, one of the
largest of the year. Becomes visible a couple of hours after sunset and
is best before dawn in the west-northwest sky. Best seen from a
reclining lawn chair away from city lights.
~Mon., Dec. 21: Winter solstice. Celebrate the shortest day of the
"Christmas is the one day a year when it's acceptable to behave the way
we should the other 364." Keith Carradine, actor.
HELP FOR THE NEWLY SINGLE! Our singles' Internet information is
maintained solely to help newly divorced and widowed people. Newly
singled people find out about it and get help only if readers like YOU
tell them about the sites and newsletters. Next time you attend a
support group, class, seminar, singles event etc. please do both us and
them a favor by recommending and telling them about these sites,
newsletters, and courses. Remember, these services are all totally FREE.
Match Gifts to Your "Love Level"
The "Washington Post" offers the following holiday gift pointers,
depending in your "love level":
Dating less than a month:
"Don't go overboard!" Definitely keep it under $25. Pick something
"small but significant" in the sense that it shows you've been paying
attention: A book by their favorite author; a classic movie they
Casual and not going anywhere:
No keepsakes! "Try something that will have vanished by the time you
do: A bouquet, a box of chocolates."
Casual with a possible future:
"Pick anything you can do as a pair: Dancing lessons, cooking classes,
a weekend adventure."
You have no idea (on the relationship or what to get):
Keep it light -- something fun that nevertheless shows that you're
listening, such as catnip for their cat or something unique for their
refrigerator magnet collection.
In hard times:
If they're in financially tough straits, don't go overboard in your
spending. Instead make it "thoughtful and personal. An iTunes mix or a
fully planned weekend of fun."
For help in adjusting to and even enjoying single life, visit our
website at http://divorcerecovery101.com.
Holiday Tipping for Your Year-Round Helpers
The custom of holiday "tipping" for service-providers you use throughout
the year is always a delicate matter, and even more of a challenge in
difficult financial times. The "Reno Gazette-Journal" offers pointers
that can be especially relevant for singles:
"Don't go into debt trying to give money to everyone on your list.
Consider giving cash to those who care for your family and use your
creativity or baking skills for others."
If your finances are tight, skip the gifts and send hand-written notes
of thanks. Even with a gift, a handwritten thank you is important.
House cleaners "typically get the biggest bonus, $50 on average."
Child-care provider: Cash or a gift-card from you, a small gift from
Babysitters: A gift card worth a typical night's pay, plus a small gift
from the kids.
"Don't give teachers money." A gift card from a book store or supply
store is more appropriate, around $20. First check if the school has a
And if you're on the receiving end of holiday "tips," send a
hand-written thank you card.
For archived articles with more tips on dating successfully, visit our
website at http://datingagain101.com.
The Best Gifts for Singles to Give
by Janet L. Jacobsen
In a Peanuts strip once, Violet spent considerable time reading her
Christmas "get" list to Charlie Brown. When she finished, he asked what
she had on her "give" list. "My what?" she replied.
Contrary to the maxim, "It is better to give than to receive," I'm
equally enthusiastic about both. Holiday giving can be either
wonderful, or tedious. These days we have to think up just the right
gift for each person, and at a price we can afford -- quite possibly
less than we spent last year. So to reduce the psychological pressures,
and maybe even help the pocketbook, I propose here a philosophical look
at gift giving for singles.
Four gift categories
Let us assume four categories of gifts we can give: useful, personal,
fun, and junk. Let us dispense with category four immediately. Junk
bonds may be a good investment; junk gifts are not. These are gag gifts
which are good for only one laugh, knickknacks with no redeeming
artistic or personal value, and rhinestone-studded anything. If you
would put it in a closet and never look at it again, for heaven's sake,
don't buy it for someone else.
A "fun" gift is something you know the person wouldn't ordinarily buy
for themselves, but would enjoy - a crazy coffee cup, exotic stationery,
books by their favorite author. (Unfortunately, books drop into the
"junk" category if you're not absolutely positive this is something the
person will read.)
My personal favorite fun gift is calendars; they come with so many kinds
of art work that you can please everyone from cat fanciers to foot
Next up on our list is the "personal" category. While you may be
assuming this means lingerie, I had something quite different in mind,
since by personal I mean something that reflects your relationship with
or understanding of the person. (Of course, for you that may mean
lingerie. Anyway . . .)
If you know the person has secret fantasies of some day visiting the
Pyramids, give them history books or travel guides to inspire them.
Enlarge and frame some favorite photo you have of them. (Never give a
photo of yourself unless the other person begs you for it.) Also, many
people have collections; I know a gal who collects owls, one who
collects mice, and a man who collects pigs - meaning china, stuffed
animals, posters, stationery; these three folks all go for anything that
depicts their favorite animal. Having a collection is a big help to
your friends, who, should there otherwise be doubt, will automatically
know what to get you.
Also on the other side of the personal side are gifts you make yourself.
Try not to be ego-involved here, and take a long hard look at how
talented you really are at what you're doing. Is the quality of your
knitting such that the only place they won't be embarrassed to wear the
sweater is while painting the house? Do people regularly burn their
hands while using your potholders (like they do with mine)? Will a
white rose made with duck feathers detract from their art deco decor?
Skip the crafts.
If, however, this person has pleaded for one of your watercolors, or you
know they have a plant they'd like to hang if only they had a macrame
hanger, then you're on to the perfect gift.
Our final category may very well overlap a bit with "fun" and "personal"
and, frankly, I think membership in this category should be a primary
consideration in all gift giving: Is the item useful? Useful, of
course, means different things to different people. A friend gave me a
copy of the Writers' Market book - useful for me; for most other folks
it would serve primarily as a doorstop. Giving me a cookbook, on the
other hand, would be a total waste.
For many of us, a fair chunk of our Christmas list will be our single
friends. Here, with only a little snooping, you can be really
practical. Living alone there's always plenty of stuff we need.
More than once I've found silverware the perfect gift for the man who is
secretly making due with a can opener, a knife, and an old spoon. I
personally would be a lot handier around the house if only I owned the
right tools! And some people wouldn't flood their bathroom floor so
regularly if only someone gave them a shower curtain. You get the idea.
There is one other favorite gift I like to give, and that's magazine
subscriptions. There's a publication for just about everything, so you
can appeal to the person's special interests, from photography, to
travel, to regional history. And I like the idea that the present keeps
arriving all year.
(This would be a natural place for me to plug giving our Country Singles
newspaper as a great gift for your single friends, but I'm sure you've
already thought of that and are even now sending in your check.)
Finally, if you're at a loss on where to do your holiday shopping, I say
avoid the obvious (meaning department stores and malls), and find
inspiration in the unusual. I recommend hardware stores, antique shops,
Army-Navy surplus, bookstores, and the gift shops in museums.
And a happy holidays to you too!
Happy New Year!