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Life for introverts at Christmas and the weeks before can be really hard. Too many parties, too much noise, shopping centres over-crowded… An absolute nightmare if you don´t get enough quiet-time as an introvert to recharge your batteries.
Many introverts don´t want to offend anyone, so they often come up with excuses or some sort of little lie. But this doesn´t make you feel good yourself.
Don´t get me wrong. I love Christmas! For me, it´s a magical time of the year. Here in Spain though, I struggle to get into the right mood, but that hasn´t got anything to do with me being an introvert…
What I love about Christmas and wintertime in general:
- Sitting inside in the cosy and warm while it´s cold out
- Trying all different hot drinks (yes, I mainly drink all sorts of tea in winter & hot chocolates)
- The Christmas lights and candles making our home so much more homely
- We spend more time indoors either reading or playing some board games, cards…
- Decorating the tree and the house together (the 3 of us)
- The smell of oranges and cinnamon
- Baking Christmas cookies and so on together with my son, or us 2 with my mum
- Wrapping up presents
- Quiet me-time (yes, it´s possible!)
I love Christmas, including the family get-togethers and I don´t mind the Christmas parties either. But only because I have worked out a system I am comfortable with and others are, too.
Find yourself a way to “get out” when you need a break without having to lie:
We used to spend Christmas eve at home, just our little family, my parents, my brother, my sister and me. In Germany, this is the main, most important day. Christmas day we then went either to my grandma´s house or to my grandparents. And then Boxing Day to the other one. This was until my brother and sister had their own families and they came to us one of those 2 days. It was Christmas with family, but without a massive gathering…
One thing I always remember from my grandparents’ house was that everyone helped. Well, the women all helped. There was never any stress for just one person. My grandma could enjoy the day as well. After we had eaten, all women usually gathered in the kitchen and done the washing up together. I loved the atmosphere because it was happy, relaxed, the women chatting and laughing. Even though I didn´t always listen to what they exactly were saying, I felt warm inside while we all were in the kitchen. Nobody ever did anything wrong… Do you know someone you just wouldn´t want to help because whatever you do they find something to criticise? Well, here it was always the opposite 🙂
And even though it wasn´t really a quiet space, it was always enough for me to recharge my batteries and to be able to then either join the other kids in their play or the rest of the family.
So, offer to help:
No wonder that you can still find me mainly in the kitchen if we are invited somewhere 🙂 Once we arrive and have exchanged niceties and got the small talk over I usually go into the kitchen and ask if I could help somehow. Yes, I often get a NO! You are our guest and guests don´t help! So what? I am honest! I either tell of my grandparent´s house and that this would make me feel happy if I could help and have a little chat… Or I just say that I need a little quiet time as it is getting a bit overwhelming with all those people in there (that if it is a bigger party).
Or be honest and say you need “a break”:
It works! Try it out. Just be honest. Say, I need a bit of quiet time and then I feel ready to go back in.
Sometimes I just excuse myself and say that I am going for a bit of fresh air. Finding those little quiet moments help me get through a day or a night. Most people know me by now and just accept it.
Hey, I even offered to take the rubbish to the bin just to get a few minutes to myself! Well, this only works if you don´t have the bin too close by. Here in Spain, there is a bin for everyone on the street somewhere. Usually, a few minutes walk away 😉
That really were 2 tips in 1! Be honest and just have a break when you need it. And, if you can split Christmas gatherings into several smaller instead of 1 big.
Nights out/late party tips for introverts at Christmas:
Now, I don´t drink alcohol. Only on very few occasions and usually, it stays with 1 drink. I just simply don´t like it. That´s a thing that used to save me at non-family Christmas parties. I can party without alcohol if I am in the right mood and with the right people… But there are people who just don´t get it. In such cases, I used to have a chat with the bartender and when the others started ordering rounds of shots, I got a “special” shot without alcohol 😉 Most of the times it was accepted though that I didn´t drink because I was the driver…
Once I had enough, lasting longer taking my needed breaks, I just simply said goodbye to everyone. By then everyone was too drunk to either realise or to care much. If someone asked why I just simply say the truth: I am tired and need to get my beauty sleep. Okay, the beauty sleep is a lie, but funny enough, people accept this more. It´s really gotten into a type of “standing joke” now.
Remember that you do not have to say yes to ALL invitations. Extroverts don´t either!
If you feel bad about saying no, then think of a different solution. As an example: a friend of mine invited me to her Christmas party. I know her parties are MASSIVE and I don´t know many of her and her husband´s friends. So, I simply said to her that I would prefer meeting up for a Christmas coffee with her instead. Less stress for both of us and more time to enjoy together.
Should you be the one having a Christmas party or family gathering at home, hiding in the kitchen might seem a great idea. But you are burdening yourself with all the stress of cooking, shopping, planning and whatever else needs doing.
Make it easier on yourself by asking for help or just telling your spouse to get the shopping for you. Get your kids to help set up the table, make it a game, not an obligation. Or get them to “create some decorations”. You know your family best and know who you could ask for what…
If everyone chips in, everyone is happier as the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed. Just don´t make the mistake and nag at your helpers for doing something wrong! There is no wrong way of setting a table and if you write the shopping list right, there is no wrong shopping either. I could continue with this list, but I think you get the point.
Make the time together as enjoyable as possible.
Right, parties dealt with.
But what about over-crowded shopping centres?
Over-crowded shopping centres and supermarkets can be a nightmare for introverts at Christmas and any other day of the year. But there are ways to get around them. 🙂
For one, you could just shop online if you want to avoid the crowds…
But I like touching things and sometimes I don´t even know what to get certain people until I see it. So, I need to go at least sometimes.
The best strategy I could come up with: Go first thing when the shops open! It is always a lot quieter then. Okay, you might not always get the help you need in the shops, but if you don´t have to ask anything, then I really recommend you going early and, at best, during the week. Sometimes it is very quiet as well shortly before everything closes. I found that Google often gives a graph with the busiest times, so have a look at them to see if early or late is the best option for you.
Christmas should be the perfect time for us introverts as it is the time of reflection…
Unfortunately, it is also the loudest and busiest time of the year. Doesn´t really seem to go together, right?
Make sure to add time for yourself into Christmas time! If you are super busy with all those invitations you are getting and don´t seem to get much time for yourself, think about starting to meditate.
To me, meditation can shorten the time I need to recharge and feel fit to face the world again which is very handy in such busy times. I need it most in summer as our area gets “flooded” with tourists and part of my offline business depends on them, so I am super busy in summer and enjoy the quieter time in winter.
And it is a “hobby” people, especially family will accept and understand that you need time and space to meditate. So they won´t interrupt you as long as they know that you are meditating. Either just let them know when you feel you need some time or set a certain time of the day and stick to it.
I hope all those tips will help you to have a better, less stressful Christmas time you and everyone else around you can enjoy.
What is your favourite tactic for introverts at Christmas? Share it with us! 🙂
If you enjoyed reading my tips for introverts at Christmas, you might also like: How meditation improves your relationships, How to make meditation work for you, Common meditation struggles for beginners and Relieve stress with these 5 simple habits.