‘Tis the season for sugar cookies and shortbread, gingerbread spice lattes and eggnog. It’s also a special time of year filled with good times and good cheer to share with colleagues, friends, and family.

But what if you’re an introvert, who would rather spend your weekend recharging instead of attending another loud, bustling Christmas party?

You’re not alone

The endless stream of holiday gatherings can be agonizing for a lot of people, but there are ways to get through this time of the year without too much panic.

It’s all about the party prep

Whenever I’m invited to a festive holiday party, my first instinct is to figure out what the heck I’m going to wear. In my head, I start rummaging through my closet or debating where I could possibly find the perfect outfit to sparkle in.

If you’re an introvert who’s already uncomfortable making an appearance at the party, one of the best things you can do is make sure you’re dressed in something that makes you feel good. It’s definitely the season to incorporate a little more glitz and glamour than you might usually don, but there’s no need to overdo it. Outfits that are too tight, too bright, or too shiny for your taste will add to your angst. Avoid anything you’re going to constantly have to readjust (dresses that are too short, loose straps), uncomfortable accessories (the highest of high heels, dress shoes that pinch, bite and only gift you with blisters ~ don’t do it!) Create an outfit you feel completely confident rockin’ around the Christmas tree in!

And if you’re stuck on what to accessorize with – you could always opt for something with a little extra je-ne-sais-quoi. Wearing a special necklace, pair of earrings or cufflinks, or even colourful socks might catch people’s attention and is a great way to welcome compliments or spark a conversation.

Take a moment to breathe

Need a timeout from schmoozing with the people? Go ahead. It’s totally fine if you need to step away from the socializing to recharge your batteries.

Step outside for some fresh air. Hide out in the bathroom if you have to. If possible, find a quiet room and just enjoy a quick bout of “Words with Friends” on your phone! Taking yourself away from the buzz of people for a breather is a good thing, and it will do wonders in helping you push through the rest of the party.

Be careful not to hide out for too long or spend the entire evening on your phone; you want to step away for a moment, not disappear. And if you’re feeling like you’re not up for anymore gossip, small-talk, and holiday cheer – don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and call it a night. Being honest with yourself and your host, if they ask, is always the right answer.

You can simply say “No”

When I say “party”, what do you imagine are the first words that might come to mind for most people?

Fun. Exciting. Happy…

Parties are meant to be an enjoyable experience. If you know that you’re truly not going to enjoy being at whatever holiday event it is that you’ve been invited to… maybe just skip it. There’s no rule that say you have to be social and spread Christmas cheer like the rest of ‘em. Skip celebrations for people you hardly know. Pass on parties that may cause you unnecessary stress or anxiety. Only go to events that you’re sure require a small appearance, or that you’d at least enjoy a little bit.

RSVP “Yes” if you think you’ll have a good time, you won’t be a Grinch if you say “No” because you really don’t want to go!

Surviving the Season

Even if you are an introvert, it’s still possible to have a holly, jolly holiday season. Just make sure to practice self-care and avoid overwhelming yourself with a sense of obligation to attend every function you’re invited to.

If you dare dress for the party and head out the door, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. 1. Find solitude – treat yourself to peaceful environments in the days leading up to any special occasions, so that you’re not over-stimulated once the party gets started.
  2. 2. Keep an eye out for people like you – once you arrive, search for someone who looks just as shy or introverted as you. Focus on creating meaningful, one-to-one conversations rather than fitting in with a group, which might be intimidating.
  3. 3. Don’t panic – don’t overthink the situation. Try and stay calm, embrace any weird or awkward moments, and just be yourself. The less stressed you are about making a good impression and just enjoy your time, the easier it will be to… enjoy yourself.
  4. Even if you are an introvert, it’s still possible to have a holly, jolly holiday season. It’s a time to practice self-care and avoid overwhelming yourself with a sense of obligation to attend every function you’re invited to.

    And once you’re home, take a little more time for yourself and recharge your batteries. Throw your own personal holiday party, and celebrate the joy and ‘peace’ of mind that being in the comfort of your own home brings you.

    I’m Janice Otremba, a professional speaker, facilitator and coach who specializes in Beating Burnout, Lowering Stress and Powering Up Your Happy! Let’s kick your butt into gear with simple, sound advice for beating burnout and powering up your happy. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with me to get started!

    Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Subscribe to
Janice's newsletter

Signup to receive Janice's monthly newsletter full of stress-management tips, wellness advice and information on upcoming events.

You are subscribed!