While the holidays are typically looked upon as a time to connect with friends and family, dating experts say Christmas and New Year's is the perfect time for singles to meet someone special and score themselves a "Holidate."

Matchmaker Paddi Rice, President of Executive Search Dating in Vancouver, says December is the company's busiest month, and for good reason.

"With all the Christmas parties and holiday festivities at this time of year it can be a fun and exciting time for singles," he tells ctvbc.ca.

Related: CTV Holiday Series

Dating can provide a well-needed respite from the constant barrage of events with loved ones, not to mention a break from the constant stream of television and advertising images promoting the ideals of love and companionship over the holidays, Rice says.

"The messaging can be centred on families and happy couples, but as a single person you can feel like the holiday isn't for me," he said.

"So this is singles taking Christmas back."

But just as there are subtle rules about how you should act on regular dates, Rice says there are also some critical do's and don'ts about how to Holidate.

Do: Hit the holiday parties

December has the most parties per capita all year, so take advantage. Get yourself invited to many and don't turn down any invitations to go somewhere you can meet new people. It's pretty hard to meet hot, successful singles while you're on your couch, unless you believe the television advertisements for 1-900 singles chat lines.

Rice says going to someone else's office party, especially as a single professional, is a great way to meet the kind of quality singles who don't spend all of their time in bars.

"These great people are often working a lot so this is a rare chance to get those high quality people who aren't out and about as much as others in the single community."

Do: Use the no-fail pickup line

Rice believes holiday parties come complete with a pickup line that is universally irresistible: "Merry Christmas."

"Literally no one can say no to it," Rice said. "Even Scrooge himself wouldn't turn it down."

So keep this friendly and relevant line in your front pocket and take it out while you're digging into your candy cane martini. Even if it doesn't turn into something, the odds are that it's a good way to make someone feel good.

Do: Save it for the right time

So if you happen to meet that special someone, don't rush it. While meeting new people in December is a great idea, Rice advises clients to delay their first real date until early in the New Year.

Besides already having to deal with an already full dance card in December, it avoids having to suck your date into the pressure of meeting your friends and family before it's appropriate.

"Take time to have a quick email or phone call but don't feel bad about scheduling it for January," Rice said.

Also, January is the month where you really go from having a ton of things on the go to hardly anything, save for losing the extra pounds accumulated from holiday canapés. That date could also be a little pick-me-up to dispel the post-holiday blues.

"It's something to look forward to," Rice says.

Don't: Become an office party statistic

Just about everyone I know has a story about a co-worker who drank too much at their Christmas party and did something inappropriate. This anecdote alone makes losing control at your own office party the all-time classic don't.

"You don't want your party to be a career-limiting occasion, so making out with a coworker, and people you work with, is frowned upon," he said.

Rice says if you have to drink a lot at a holiday party, just make sure it's not your own.

Don't: Let your date meet the parents

Having a new partner meet your parents can be awkward enough, so why would you let that happen if you've only been on a few dates?

While holiday occasions often include seeing a lot of extended family, it's not a great idea to pull the trigger early on when your special someone should meet the folks.

Rice says the most important connection with your new Holidate should be between you and the person you've just met.

"Make the focus getting to know each other," he said.

Besides the fact that it could be incredibly awkward, there's also the fallout you'll have to endure for months to come if for some reason Mr. December doesn't make it to Mr. New Year's Eve.

"You're going to have to field questions from your loved ones for months, asking what happened to them," Rice said.

Don't: Over-gift

It doesn't matter if you got a great deal on an e-book reader after American Thanksgiving, or there's a two-for-one deal at Birks. A cardinal don't for Holidating is splurging on a big present for someone you've really just met.

"Gifts are nice but you don't want to put undue pressure on the situation early – or make that person awkward or guilty for not reciprocating," Rice said.

This doesn't mean you have to give them a lump of coal either.

A small or simple present is appropriate, perhaps something like a card or flowers. If it's someone you plan on seeing more, tickets to a Christmas event or concert, something you'd both enjoy, can also work.