Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas and the Introvert.

This may shock you (and I am also being a bit facetious), but I am a HUGE introvert. I'm a Myers-Briggs INFJ, which is like the height of introversion. Christmas is not the easiest time of year for me. Please don't misunderstand me. I love to give presents and watch the kids rip into their packages. I Love celebrating the birth of my Savior. My nativity, passed down from my grandmother to my mom to me is one of my most valued possessions. I have an inordinate love of Christmas music (if you have Spotify, look up my Christmas list. It's not mixed well, but it has songs I love on it, there's a bit of everything, and there's 7 hours of music). I love the lights and decorations and fluffy snowfalls.

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But here's the thing about Christmas. The shops become overwhelmingly crowded. Everyone is out finding the perfect gift. Black Friday is positively frightening. The pace becomes more frenetic. Then there are the parties. If you are an extrovert it is important to understand that parties are a bit like putting a toe into the lake of hell for the introvert. We aren't especially good at the schmooze. We can't stand being interrupted, not because we are offended but because it makes us feel undervalued, and this happens quite frequently at gatherings. There are lots and lots of people, some who will probably be obnoxious and drunk. This is true even if you are friends with everyone who will be at the party. Parties are exhausting. I spend my time at the daydreaming about being at home knitting.

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My daughter is the polar opposite of me in that she is the most extroverted extrovert in the world. She thrives on being surrounded by people and needs to be always busy. She can't be silent. And if she has to be, she texts. When Christmas rolls around and she gets to decorate she tends to go into overdrive. For the most introverted introvert this can be a bit overwhelming. This year, I let her do her thing with her boyfriend and William and hid in my bedroom.

Introverts need to take special care to make time for themselves during the holidays. This is a time of reflection, grace, love, and miracles; we introverts need to be still and quiet to appreciate the wonder of this season. The best Christmases I have ever had weren't rushed or over-scheduled, my shopping was done well in advance of the crowds, adequate time was spent in the morning opening presents and savoring the day before family visits were even considered, and, imagine this, I took a nap.

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This time of year is too special to be dreaded. There was a time that I really didn't like Christmas because I was thrust into situations that are too much for any introvert. It wasn't until I realized how to be an introvert at Christmas and not compromise my needs that Christmas became alive for me.

7 comments:

Ashley Sisk said...

I can totally relate - I can be a bit of an extrovert in blog land, but the truth is that I need a lot of down time. The holidays become a bit overwhelming for me when I'm surrounded by so many family members and no place to hide. I'm pretty sure there are a number of us like that. I mean, if we were extroverted...would we really be online when we could be out in the world?

kassidy's notes said...

i do understand being an introvert because i am the same. i have to alot days or weeks before i could even summon myself to attend a family party. then, when i'm in the party, i'm sweating or i just can't speak. it's a tough situation, and it requires a whole lot of work.

Lucy's Soup Can said...

I couldn't help but smile at the irony of God giving such an introvert an especially extroverted daughter. If nothing else, kids are good at pushing us out of our comfort zones!

Lauren said...

I too am an INFJ. Good post.

Cinner said...

I can understand this for sure, wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season.

Pamela Holderman said...

Oh wow me too. I did the shopping and organizing early so I can hang out at home this week and recharge (well I got sick too of course) before everyone arrives for a week. Just caught up on some of your posts. So sorry about the puppy. I hope you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

Matt said...

I am so with you here. Internet Christmas shopping is simply the greatest gift ever to introverts...

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