Whether you've invited a military person, divorced friend, friend whose children are holidaying with their other parent, or a widowed or widowered parent or friend to your table for the holidays -- when everyone else is paired -- here are some things you can do to make your single guest more comfortable. Use your intuition as to what will work with whom! It's the emotionally intelligent thing to do.

1. If they offer to bring something, let them.

Your meal may already be set and you may not really need anything, but single people sometimes long to be giving the feast, and would appreciate being allowed to cook and bring something.

2. Or let them contribute in another way.

The point is to involve them so they feel a part of it. If they're into crafts, ask them to bring favors for everyone, or for the kids. If they home-brew, ask them to bring some of their beer.

3. Send home some leftovers!

Every other year my sons had Thanksgiving at their Dad's and I was the guest at other people's celebrations. What I missed most of all when I didn't get to cook was having those delicious leftovers that night.

4. Make a special point to involve them in conversation.

You might even ask one of your children, or another guest, to "look after them," making sure they have companionship and someone with whom to talk. Hopefully they'll be subtle about it.

5. Invite another single person, or several, to even things out.

6. Be sensitive in your conversation to special needs.

Steer the conversation and the blessing away from topics that would sadden someone who's recently lost a spouse, or just broken up with an S.O., or whose children are elsewhere. Focus on the positive.

7. Give them a special job to do.

Pouring the water or wine, carving the turkey, tending the fire, or passing hors d'oeuvres are nice tasks!

8. Make a special effort when introducing them.

As you do with all introductions, give both people enough information to get a conversation going. "This is my dear friend Mary. She worked with me at the law firm. Mary's just got back from a rail tour to Canada. Didn't you take that tour last year?" works a lot better than "This is Mary Smith."

9. Ask them to "look out for" someone.

Ask him or her to save people from your Uncle Harry who tends to bore people to death, for instance; something that turns the focus elsewhere.

10. Thank them for coming and for the special contribution they made to the gathering.

As you do all your guests!

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn is a personal and professional development coach. Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.