The holidays are typically a time for reconnecting with family, friends, and business / professional acquaintances, many you may not have seen in quite awhile. How about making those holiday get-togethers yield an even greater return-on-investment than just goodwill? Why not make them opportunities, as Tom Peters suggests, to Purposefully Practice Listening (And Hearing).
Why is that important? From a job search perspective, you never know who your family, friends, and acquaintances may have in their "network", perhaps on LinkedIn or Facebook or simply in their social and business circle. It may be that the very companies and hiring authorities you are targeting for your job search are accessible through your family-friends-acquaintances network. If this seems unlikely, think about this...how many new people have YOU gotten to know in the past year? Couldn't this explosion of connections also be a possibility for your circle of friends?
While you are purposefully practicing listening, you are building a bridge that motivates others to want to reciprocate...by asking about you. Then you can bring up your job search and ask about potential contacts in targeted companies without feeling like it's an imposition.
You may agree with this strategy, but feel uncomfortable putting it into practice...after all, these are your friends and family. Just think of it this way - YOU may have some valuable piece of information or networking connection that would be priceless for the other person as well. Ask what you can do for the other person first, perhaps to help them achieve their goals for 2008, before you ask for yourself.