How Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type Would Rather Spend the Holidays

An introvert relaxes on the holidays with her dog

In an ideal world, here’s how each introverted personality type would spend the holidays.

It’s almost December, which means that many of us are preparing for a season of holidays. I know that as a high school teacher — and introvert — I look forward to two weeks away from work to celebrate Christmas with my family and take some time to recharge

On the other hand, holiday season expectations can be challenging for introverts. Between trying to read people’s minds about what gifts to buy, feeling bad about turning down multiple party invitations, and seeing family members we don’t see on a regular basis (for a good reason), December might be our most dreaded month. (And this is without factoring in icy road conditions for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.)

In this article, I’d like to share some ideas on what each introverted Myers-Briggs personality type can do to enjoy this unique season of the year. I hope it helps you get through the cold, the gatherings, and the expectations. (Apologies in advance to those in the Southern Hemisphere, or elsewhere with very different winter weather from my home in California, but hopefully some of these ideas will help!)

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)

How Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type Would Rather Spend the Holidays

INTJ: Learning something new

I’m an INTJ and admit that I have a hard time with small talk, especially with relatives at family gatherings. I’ve learned, however, that asking them questions can not only keep them engaged in conversation, but also helps me avoid having to bounce back and forth between superficial conversations like a billiard ball. I like to ask them variations on the usual questions about work, such as what misconceptions someone outside their profession might have about what they do. I also enjoy asking questions that let them share passionate opinions, like what they think is wrong with society and how to fix it. 

Although I have to brace myself for all sorts of opinions, it helps me learn more about different jobs, cultures, and ideas — and it passes the time so pleasantly that I find myself almost (but not quite) regretting that I have to leave. If you identify as an INTJ like I do, this method will help you enjoy gatherings where you have to meet new people or get to know others better.

INFJ: Catching up on your reading list

Have you ever put together a reading list of books you want to read when you just “have the time”? I gave up on that practice a long time ago, although I still have scattered wish lists or notes on my phone — that I only ever access so I can add more to the list. There are just too many great books to fit into one lifetime, and more books are published every year.

I know that many INFJs, too, love reading and exploring new worlds whenever they can break away from work, family, and other responsibilities. One great way to enjoy the holiday season is to steal some time away from the festivities to read. In fact, the more home-centered, low-key atmosphere of the holiday season — especially in cold places where outside activities aren’t possible — the more perfect a time for us introverts to recharge with a book. As an INFJ, you are probably trying to meet everyone else’s needs, as well, so this can be a helpful reminder to take a break from planning and take some much-needed alone time. At least speaking for myself, I know that I’m a much friendlier party guest if I’ve had a few hours of downtime to read beforehand.

INTP: Trying out a new game (or two)

I know many INTPs who enjoy video games, so this next suggestion is for them. Especially for those of us who are in school or work at a school, having time off during the holiday season can give us substantial time to start something new. Add to this the fact that stores often have year-end sales, meaning we might grab a few games for a bargain price. 

Additionally, we’re less likely to get pressured into going on a trip to the beach or an amusement park due to rain, snow, or just plain cold weather. So you’re likely to have some uninterrupted hours to try out new games and find your favorite ones to continue with once life’s routines start back up again.

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INFP: Reflecting and journaling in nature

One of my friends lives by the maxim that our pursuits throughout the year should match the seasons: spring is the time for new endeavors, summer is the time for working and playing hard, and autumn is the time for winding down and reflecting on what we’ve accomplished throughout the year. By wintertime, the holiday season can be the perfect time to reflect on life and our priorities in general. Is our life going in the direction we envision? Are we being the best friends we can be? Who are we really, deep down inside?

For introspective, self-reflective INFPs, winter can be a beautiful time to walk through the snow-laden woods, read your journals, and think about the past and coming years. You might write down your reflections on meaningful events over the past year, recounting joys and regrets. And you might also recharge your moral resolve to improve something about yourself in the coming year, using the tranquility of nature to clear your mind and help you better see your path ahead.

ISTJ: Participating in holiday traditions

My ISTJ friends and family members love to celebrate traditions, and the holiday season is perfect for this. There are traditional social events at local organizations, like at churches or in town. There are family gatherings, such as for opening presents on Christmas Eve or morning. And some families have personalized traditions, like how our family used to watch Jingle All the Way and read The Gift of the Magi on Christmas Eve. And my wife’s Peruvian family eats panettone (an Italian sweet bread) and drinks hot chocolate. 

Family members may grumble when you, the resident ISTJ, remind us about these traditions, but we often appreciate the continuity and nostalgia more than we admit. Plus, you could always celebrate different traditions with select groups of family or friends, since not all of them may be as excited about them as you are. 

ISFJ: Reconnecting with an old friend

During the holiday season, many people travel home to see loved ones. For some, this means returning to the place of their childhood or coming home from far away. For the ISFJs who I know, deep friendships are very important to them, and they have fond memories of friends from the past. Especially after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season could be a good time to reconnect with an old friend.

Whether you’re going home or you’re hearing of someone else coming back — or maybe you’re just finding someone online that you’ve lost touch with — the holidays can be the perfect time to reconnect. It’s a time when people put their everyday lives on hold and are open to visits from old friends. You might rekindle good memories, share experiences, or even bring back a friendship for the new year.

ISTP: Working on projects around the house 

It’s amazing how many little projects you can get started throughout the year that never get finished. For ISTPs with a knack or interest for work around the house, the shutdown of the outside world around the holidays can be a great opportunity to catch up. You may be working on a table or chair in your garage, or putting together a play house for your kids, or maybe even remodeling the bathroom. 

Household projects can also give you a great excuse to duck out early from social activities or gracefully decline from offering your house as a gathering place (sorry, we can’t host the party here — we’re still finishing the bathroom!). Not to mention that they give you a sense of accomplishment and an outlet for working on something when a lot of other outdoor activities are limited by the weather. 

ISFP: Making something beautiful

Life can be busy and hectic, full of work and social duties, and it can be hard to fit in any time for doing what we want to do in normal circumstances. For ISFPs with artistic interests, the holidays can be the perfect excuse to create something beautiful. Whether it’s a sculpture with a Christmas theme, a wintry painting, or even just a well-dressed snowman, you can exercise your creativity in beautifying the world around you with more cheer and holiday spirit. 

For ISFPs who are interested in culinary arts, the holidays are a traditional time for gifts of cookies and other baked goods. You can use them in social interactions to get the focal point off of you and onto your work, especially if it’s edible and delicious. If you’re stuck going to a loud family party, they might even forgive you for leaving early (or for just dropping off your goodies and waving goodbye) if they know you’re leaving tasty treats.

If you want to read my novels with introvert protagonists, check out the Kaybree versus the Angels series on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.

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I’m Harrison Paul, an introvert author who explores the introvert experience by writing stories about introverted characters. My introvert epic fantasy series Kaybree versus the Angels is available on Amazon, and I’m currently seeking representation for my introvert science fiction novel, Aurora’s Network. I am the founder of the Introvert University Podcast, hold an MA in Philosophy from San Francisco State University, and teach philosophy and technology. I live in California with my wife and our daughter, Galadriel.