5 Holiday Gifts to Help Introverts Survive the Season

Some of you already know this, but I am an introvert. When I'm around people and in social situations, I try to keep interaction to a minimum. Small talk is one of my worst nightmares and it drains me mentally and emotionally. I don't like large gatherings or networking events. I dread the suggestion to “stand up and introduce yourself to everyone”. Most days, I prefer to sit alone and write or think. At work, I prefer to use written communication and keep my earbuds in for most of the day.

The holiday season is a time for Christmas parties, Thanksgiving dinners, family gatherings, work get togethers, and “secret Santa” gift exchanges. There is a lot of socializing involved in the time between the end of November and the first of January, and for many introverts it is a dreaded time filled with more social interactions than we can handle, crowded stores, gift-giving expectations, meeting new people, and a seemingly endless stream of small talk. And to top it off, the holiday rush seems more and more rushed each year to the point that there's no longer a quiet weekend to enjoy a good book, some warm cocoa, and a window seat to watch the freshly falling snow (or the beach, if you're one of the lucky ones).

As an introvert myself, I'd like to give you some gifts to help you survive and even thrive through the holiday season with your sanity intact. If you, like so many, are an extrovert and thrive on the socializing for the next month, send this on to an introverted friend in your life and give them the gifts instead.

Gift 1: The Word “No”

Yes, this is a difficult gift to receive during the holidays and a difficult one to give. But it really can be a gift to those who are burned out and want to hibernate for 3 months after January 2nd finally rolls around. You can say no to the umpteenth Christmas party invite. You can say no to staying the full five hours at your work festivities. You can say no to the gift exchange. It's ok. You might be missed, but you'll thank yourself later for taking a few nights for yourself to recharge. So I give you the gift of “No”.

Gift 2: Grocery Delivery

My wife and I have recently started doing grocery pickup and we love it. While some have worries about bad produce or damaged goods, we've never had an issue and it has been life-altering. We love shopping from the comfort of our own homes when we don't have the time or energy to deal with a drive to the store, finding a parking spot, fighting the crowds, and making small talk with the neighbors we run into and the cashier. This is especially true during the holiday season. While this time of year should be a season of giving, peace, and love, it's more like the season of honking, shouting, and haste. Everyone is in a hurry and there's no time to dilly-dally! Our last two shopping trips, however, were blissful. We sat in our kitchen, checked our pantry and refrigerator, found all the groceries we needed in the app, checked the “Delivery” box, and the next evening our groceries were delivered. While yes, there are costs and pros and cons associated with having your groceries delivered, I believe you deserve one break this next month from braving the grocery store crowds. So I give you the gift of grocery delivery (or pickup, if delivery isn't available where you live).

Gift 3: A Good Book

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I say that many introverts love to grab a warm drink, a blanket, and a good book. This is like putting your phone on the charger all night. So order yourself that novel that's been on your wishlist, or put a hold in at the library, or download the audiobook. Then find a quiet place and get reading! I suggest scheduling out blocks of time for yourself before all the party invites go out before all your time is filled up with other obligations. That book isn't going to read itself, after all. You need to read that story. You need to be recharged. So I'm giving you the gift of a good book.

Gift 4: Self Care

This gift will look different for everyone, but the gift of self care is vital to thriving through the holidays. Make time to take care of the most important person in your life: You! Go get a massage. Buy a new candle. Get some bath bombs. Visit the spa. Get your nails done. Go to the barber and get a nice haircut and a shave. Read or watch something funny that gets you laughing. Make time to finally finish all those little things you've been putting off. Take a couple days off work just to relax at home. Do what's right and best for you, but do something. Taking care of you is so important but so often forgotten in this busy season. So I'm giving you the gift of self care.

Gift 5: The Gift of Imperfection

If you're like me, you find the flaws in everything. You get anxiety if you're a minute late. You see things that are crooked and feel the need to straighten them out. You feel like you always have to say the right thing, look the right way, and do things the right way. If things don't work out exactly how you've played them out in your head, then it's an utter failure. I know it's hard to get out of this mindset. Believe me, it's something I struggle with every minute of every day. It's kept me from talking to people, from writing blog posts, and from continuing projects I've started. But this holiday season, just for a month and a half, let's embrace imperfection. Give it your full attention and love. Be OK with the crooked things, with the things that didn't turn out how you thought, and with the oddities and weirdness. It's alright that the conversation at your work party didn't go as planned. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good. It's fine that the turkey was a little dry and your pie crust had too much salt. Everyone still ate it and you tried your best. Being imperfect is more than OK, it's human! Nobody is perfect and we should never expect perfection out of anyone. So, as my final gift, I'm giving you the gift of imperfection.

Please take these gifts and use them to thrive this holiday season (and heck, any other time of the year, too). Pass them on to your friends and loved ones as you see fit. Let others in your life use these gifts if they need these to stay afloat during one of the hardest times of year for introverts. These gifts may just save them a lot of pain and suffering. Or at least some discomfort and exhaustion.