Holiday parties can be a great time to try out your conversation skills with potential matches. When dating for marriage, it’s critical to have meaningful conversations right from the start—but how do you initiate deep conversation naturally?

Instead of asking about his best Christmas tree decorations or her favorite latkes recipe, why not try out some of these holiday party conversation starters?

  1. “How do you know the host?” Establishing common relationships is an easy way to open a conversation with a stranger and can give you insight into this person’s social life. Did they meet at a book club (he values reading and learning) or know each other from childhood (she values long-lasting relationships)? While common interests are not essential in a match, getting someone to talk about their passions can give you some insight on what a person prioritizes.
  2. “How does your family celebrate the holidays?” This is another natural way to find out more about what a person values. For example, does her family go to a special religious service together? Maybe his family volunteers together during the holiday season. Finding out what makes this person unique will help you understand their true spirit early on.
  3. “How do you envision spending the holidays with a partner/family?” This question can give you some insight into this person’s hopes and dreams for the future—and easily translate to a larger conversation about their marriage vision. It’s important to share a common vision, values and goals, so listen closely to what they have to say about their desires.
  4.  “What makes you happy during the holidays?” Finding out what brings contentment and joy to a potential mate will help you determine if you would feel happy and satisfied with them as your partner. Maybe they love finding the perfect gift for their friends or just spending time with the people close to them—listen for answers that make you smile and relate to them. It’s important to find someone whose personality you love, and this question can help you determine that.
  5.  “What’s the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?” This question gives your conversation partner the opportunity to talk about their ambitions or goals. If they name a goal that they made and kept, you can find out a lot about their essence by listening to how they accomplished it.

Overall, listen for answers that you find inspiring or intriguing. If the person you’re talking with seems less than engaged by these kinds of questions, move on. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely close the conversation and continue mingling with other party guests.

Even if you don’t find “the One” at one of these gatherings, recognize the value of meeting new people, practicing your dating-for-marriage skills and enjoying the holidays with the people who mean the most to you.

So dress up to feel your best, break out the eggnog, and be the happy, confident single you know yourself to be!