The Introvert’s (In)complete Guide to Surviving the Holidays

As Christmas break is fast approaching, here are some practical steps you can take to thrive throughout the experience.

When leaves turn to auburn and umber, snow threatens the northern states, and cooler breezes hit the south, a student’s mind will begin to turn from textbooks to chestnuts. Going home with those far off flights or a brief drive is definitely in store for the holiday traveler. While many may enjoy the warm hugs from a distant cousin or feel content sitting around a long table surrounded by family, for others, the best part of the holidays is the quiet, soothing, (nearly) people-free ride in the car.

That’s right. For an introvert, such as myself, the holidays can be more anxious and hair-pulling than for those who love to dig deep into the drama. If you dread the thought of having your heavyset Great-Aunt Bertha scold you for being too quiet, or fear the embarrassment of your grandma commenting loudly on how thin you are – don’t worry. You’re not alone. For our holiday rescue, below is a well-thought-out and highly speculative list of how to survive the upcoming Christmas break.

1. Fake a Cold
While this may sound like the simplest, this plan might actually be the hardest. Especially if you’re not a theater student or simply suck at acting. But, mimicking a harsh cough and sniffling may keep that talkative, hypochondriac cousin of yours to herself. A potential downfall may be when your uncle sees that you’re “sick” – just like him! – and decides misery loves company.

2. Bring a Book
A big, thick, heavy book. One that will last for hours and with a boring, possibly fake title that will keep people from trying to relate to it. Or, a textbook. Pretending to study has never been so enticing. Not only will you score brownie points with your parents, you may actually learn something in addition to warding off the family. Bonus: brownie points are easily transferrable into pumpkin pie.

3. Find Another Introvert
Finding someone as “socially disinclined” as you, who is also trying to hide from the hugging sweaters and sloppy kisses, is a great way to survive the holiday festivities. Introverts are very militant and will strategically watch your back, so long as you return the favor.

4. Hide in the Guest Bathroom
Obviously, if your holiday congregation hall has only one restroom, this plan will fall apart faster than cheap toilet paper.

5. Suck It Up
Force yourself to enjoy the family you may not see for another year. While most parties and get-togethers are usually optional, Thanksgiving and Christmas come only once a year. A few hours of forced smiles and sweaty hugs never killed anyone (intentionally). Then, once the gathering is dispersed and you’re once again back at home or your dorm, sit back in bed with a mug of warm cocoa and let the quiet wash over you. Reflect on the snippets of fun you had on your people-filled holiday excursion. And, breathe easy. Once Christmas is over you have a whole 364 days of rest.

Morgan Saddleson is a contributor to the Daily Runner.