Surviving the Holidays: An Introvert’s Guide
It happened in rapid succession. The emails landed with a resounding thud on my psyche today. “Hello Everyone, We’re thinking that for Thanksgiving…” and “I know it’s early, but we’d like to coordinate the family Christmas…”
I am an introvert. I find human contact only manageable in small doses, before I need to run away to a dark hidey-hole to process the interaction. Extended family celebrations, with the enforced captivity, doubly so.
If you’ve been reading this blog over the last few weeks, you know I’ve been finding my middle-aged spine. It’s a little angry and resentful and involves me inadvertently shouting “NO!” at random strangers. I’m usually not gracious about the holidays, but I suspect this year, it will be a torment unlike any I’ve ever known. Relationships will be permanently altered. Gifts will be taken back.
I’m trying to come up with a survival plan. I believe it involves duct tape and a plane ticket to anywhere else. Not as useful as you’d hoped, right?
Here’s some tips for surviving the holidays of the next couple of months.
Be picky about the time and place for celebration.
Have your holidays at a restaurant with a long wait list. That will force a reservation end time under an hour and 15 minutes. Perhaps if you’re lucky, your wait staff will be irritable and clumsy, which will make for an abbreviated, but entertaining meal.
If you must go to someone’s home, engage in passive-aggressive hostilities immediately upon entering the host’s house.
“Do you have slippers? I don’t want to get my socks dirty.”
“Maybe I’ll just hold onto my coat.”
“What’s that fish smell?”
Partake in uncomfortable family traditions with authenticity.
Random bossy relative: Let’s everyone go around the table and say what we’re thankful for.
Me: Um, I’ll go first.
Random bossy relative: Wonderful. Quiet everyone! Michelle will be starting us off.
Me: I’m grateful that I only have to see you wankers twice a year. I’m grateful that I already ate before I got to this salmonella-fest. I’m grateful that…what? What’s she crying about?
Reminisce, especially if there are newlyweds or out-of-town visitors.
“Remember that time when Aunt Betty’s sweet potato pie gave everyone the bends for days on end? Oh, would you look at that, I see you’re using the family recipe.”
“Didn’t you bring Cathy last year? She was really pretty. Who’s this one?”
“You’re looking good, Mitchell. That stint upstate did wonders for you. Did they ever find the body?”
Be boorishly entertaining.
Re-enact scenes from “Soylent Green” while walking around with the cheese cube tray.
Start a lively political discussion by calling everyone something+the word Nazi.
Insist that your child, who has just started playing the trombone, perform for everyone. Until he or she gets it right.
Make small children cry.
“I’m sure Santa won’t eat you if you are very, very good.”
“It just broke off! I’m sorry – I thought Barbie was supposed to bend that way.”
“Isn’t it sad that all the Lego people die at the end? Oh, I thought you’d already seen it.”
Make a discreet exit. Do not return.
“Let me get those extra presents out of the car.”
“Oh, it looks like we’re almost out of whipped cream. I’ll run out to the store and get some.”
“Where’s the bathroom?” It’s best if it’s on the first floor and has a window.
Administrative Note: The Green Study “What’s on the B Side of that 45?” Contest is revving up with some very thoughtful entries! You have until Sunday, December 7th, 2014, 12:00 pm (US Standard Central Time) to get your entry submitted.