With big holiday parties and family gatherings canceled due to the pandemic, many introverts are relieved. Here’s how to celebrate at home.
Obviously, the holiday season already looks different this year: online sales started early, most people won’t be having large parties (or meeting at all), and medical experts are encouraging people to stay home due to the surging Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet it can still be a joyous and fun season. Some people might see the necessity to limit gatherings as a bummer, while others (like this introvert) now have a convenient excuse to have more low-key holidays. In fact, I’m guessing that many of my fellow introverts are in the latter category.
Whether it’s the pressure to attend parties or the expectation to spend lots of time with family — and let’s not forget about all the small talk that would ensue — the holidays can be overwhelming and exhausting for us “quiet ones.”
But having a reason to stay home this year? Well, let’s just say it could take social distancing to a whole new level and actually be a dream come true for introverts (at least this one). Here are four reasons.
4 Reasons to Get Excited About an ‘Introvert’ Holiday This Year (and How to Celebrate It)
1. You’ll finally have an endless amount of peace and quiet.
One of my favorite Christmas movies is Home Alone, but that scene at the beginning where the house is full of people, noise, arguing, and chaos? It’s fun, but still hard for me to watch. I relate more to Kevin’s initial joy at having the house to himself.
Aside from the global pandemic, the number one reason for an introvert to spend the holidays at home this year is to recharge in peace and quiet. Introverts can love their extended family as much as anyone else, but lots of people and noisy activity quickly drains us.
Introverts generally don’t thrive at big parties. Many times, I’d be at a party and would end up in a corner talking to just one person on a deeper level — or hiding out in the bathroom to recharge my energy. (Even Oprah’s done this at parties!)
The first time I spent Christmas with my now-husband’s extended family, they had a big Christmas Eve get-together. Everyone was super nice, but I ended up going downstairs with a few of the kids. In part, I was hiding, overwhelmed by meeting and making conversation with so many new people.
Maybe you have “Zoom fatigue.” Maybe you are an essential worker who can’t not go out where all the people are. Maybe there tends to be more family drama around the holidays, which is common.
Whatever the case may be, this year, the holidays will finally allow some much-needed time to recover; the reality is, you probably really need some time to yourself!
How to celebrate
Create an even-cozier-than-usual environment in your own home. For your introvert sanctuary, think throw blankets, cuddly pets, books, candles, nostalgic holiday decorations, you name it. (The famous carol, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” might have been inadvertently written for us introverts.)
On that note, if the holidays have spiritual meaning for you, you may find that an outwardly peaceful environment helps you get in touch with your inner peace and the meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and more. And with so many religious services online these days, you can also “attend” church or a synagogue from the comfort of your home.
And, speaking of comfort, stream some peaceful piano music or ambient holiday jazz or lofi beats while you enjoy your warm beverage of choice, from tea to spiced cider to mulled wine.
You can end the night with a relaxing bath, then put on your softest holiday socks and sweetest-smelling hand lotion.
2. You’ll learn what you really want and need, such as your favorite comfort food (and comfort movies).
My husband was in the Army until recently. He was stationed in Hawaii for three years, and both of our families lived on the U.S. mainland. Because of that, we spent some quiet holidays together. It helped my husband and me know what we really wanted and needed.
We’d get out decorations that reminded us of family traditions, such as ornaments I had from my childhood. We’d also watch classic movies, like Die Hard, which is my husband’s favorite holiday film (although there’s debate about whether it truly fits in that genre).
We’d also eat whatever we wanted — one year, we had duck for Christmas dinner; another, jalapeño poppers for New Year’s Eve. There was also no New Year’s pressure to party the hardest or the loudest, and we didn’t have to figure out designated drivers or transportation.
And when you do spend a quiet holiday at home, you get to find out what is really best for you, and this socially distanced holiday season is a great time to start. You will know for sure whether you’d just been giving in to the holiday pressure previous years, trying to please others, and if you actually do better during holidays at home.
How to celebrate
Obtain any groceries you need ahead of time in order to make your favorite special dish or cocktail. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can always support local businesses by ordering takeout or delivery from nearby. Maybe sushi or Mediterranean food or just a snack board is what you’ll crave for your personal holiday menu — it’s up to you!
Watch the holiday movies that are traditional to you, or go rogue! Watch all the Harry Potter or Star Wars films, or binge a new show you’re just discovering. Maybe you’ll even create a new holiday tradition in the process.
And through your decorations and holiday rituals, you can find a way to recreate any family traditions that are important to you, or put your own spin on them.
If you feel comfortable, go on a holiday video call with your close friends or family. Introverts don’t love phone calls, but these days, they can help us stay connected to people — and on our terms. (You can always use the old: Oh, the Wi-Fi must be going out … excuse if need be, too!) And if a big group video call seems overwhelming, you can just speak to one or two people at a time.
If you’re not sure how to spend your time, try responding to this writing prompt: “I don’t want this holiday at home to end before I…”
3. You can cross items off your mini bucket list, like finishing that painting you started.
Now is also the perfect opportunity to do all the things that have been building up on your mental to-do list, something I call a “mini bucket list.”
Some of you may be thinking, “I’ve been working from home for months. How is being home for the holidays any different?!”
Well, I work remotely; having no commute is great and working from home is heaven. I also find, however, that between work and everything else, I have a constant running to-do list that has yet to be fully accomplished.
So a holiday is a whole different thing, even from home. There are so many things we introverts can do with a few days where we have no pressure to work. For me, I might paint, write a journal entry, do some reorganizing, cook a new dish, read, or do more yoga. Or I might just watch Netflix and get some extra sleep.
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How to celebrate
The holidays inevitably mean days off. So now you can finally do all the self-care and enjoyable activities you’ve had in mind. You may not bake very often, so the holidays are an opportunity to make special cookies. Some of my friends really enjoy knitting, crocheting, or embroidery — maybe you do or will, too! (That’s what YouTube is for, right?)
You can also do some home improvement projects, read a new book, do a puzzle, start a new video game, or disconnect from technology completely for a few hours (or days, which will come in handy when people want to Zoom and you don’t).
Or, don’t do a lot at all. Just relax.
And if you choose to go out for exercise, nature, or errands, you can enjoy the lack of people around in public, as well. (Thank goodness for social distancing!)
Maybe you’ll find a safe way to go to a place that would normally be crowded, but is currently not. Is there a botanical garden or museum near you that’s open on a holiday? Maybe a festively decorated part of your town or city? You can also explore nearby mountains or lakes.
4. There are also plenty of things you don’t have to do when you stay home for the holidays, like engage in small talk or dress up.
Aside from not having to engage in small talk, you also won’t have to get into heated political discussions. Confrontation and conflict are not relaxing, especially for introverts.
Plus, if you stay home for the holidays, you don’t have to feel like you are being judged about your relationship status, career, or appearance.
Another great perk is not having to dress up for events and gatherings. Some of us like to do so more than others, but if you prefer to stay in your pajamas 24/7, not going out is nice.
How to celebrate
If you’re all about maximizing the cozy vibes, get some holiday PJs or an “ugly” sweater. Sherpa fleece is also on trend this year and, luckily, extremely comfortable. If you live with others, you can even get matching outfits and take a silly photo together. Or wear that favorite sparkly outfit of yours — just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t dress up!
Also, since it’s the end of the year, take a moment to reflect on this past year, and make a mental or written list of things you are proud of.
And if there are important causes that you care about, you can find a socially distant way to help out. Maybe a local nonprofit needs donations, there is a petition you can sign and share, or you can donate money to people in need. (Want to help out the introvert cause? Sign the petition to change the dictionary definition of introversion.)
If you have always dreamed of spending a holiday alone — whether that means just yourself or with immediate family, roommates, or a significant other — this is the perfect year to “stay home” and try it out. For introverts in a world that doesn’t lean toward our needs, this year’s unique holiday could be a dream come true.