A Grumpy Cat Christmas

Naughty list

The other day, I had a disturbing epiphany: I don’t look forward to Christmas anymore. I know how this must sound to you.  You are probably imagining me as some grimacing green creature hunched in front of my computer, cursing all things splendid and good.  But the truth is, I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge or any other kind of malice-filled Christmas hater. I’m more like Grumpy Cat at Christmas time – cranky … but still adorable?

Anyway, I didn’t always feel this way about the holidays. In fact, I can remember a time when I swooned over every overplayed Christmas song, while drenching my home in boxes of festive, red and gold decorations.  The holiday season used to make me feel giddy and nostalgic.  Now, it makes me feel anxious and guilty.

dashing-through-the-no-grumpy-cat-meme

As an introvert, I’m pretty susceptible to feelings of guilt.  We’re told that it’s naughty (not nice) to want to be alone when everyone else is gathered together in a giant mob of cheerfulness.  We feel obligated to join in all the Christmas ‘fun’ long after our energy reserves have dried up. Like most people, we battle our way through lineups and crazed Christmas fanatics to get presents that we worry no one will like.  If we don’t spend hours making cards for loved ones in faraway places, we spend weeks thinking about how we should have done so.  Then we look at our scantily ornamented tree and feel disappointed that it doesn’t even remotely resemble the ones in the Sears catalogue. (P.S. If your tree does look like the ones in department store catalogues, I don’t think we can be friends – no offense, I just think we have different priorities.)

new-years-grumpy-cat

Indeed, there are countless ways that we can feel like we are coming up short during the holidays.  And that is before we even set foot near the eggnog bowl at the office Christmas party.

Instead of being a source of enjoyment, Christmas parties tend to become dreaded obligations for introverts.  Really long, carbohydrate-saturated, small talk-laden obligations.  It’s not that we never have fun at parties.  It’s just that, for an introvert, parties usually go one of two ways:

Scenario 1

We arrive at the party feeling pretty good.  We see people we know or want to get to know, and easily slip into an engaging  conversation with one or two individuals at a time.  There is minimal awkwardness. We leave the party still feeling pretty good.

Scenario 2

We arrive at the party feeling pretty good.  But we see only acquaintances and unfamiliar faces. Everyone is gathered together in an intimidating mob at the center of the room making small talk. We awkwardly take our place at the edge of the mob.  The conversation doesn’t interest us, so we let our mind wonder.  When the conversation shifts to something we can relate to, we think of something brilliant to say.  We patiently wait for our turn to speak.  We open our mouths and stutter out a few words, but get interrupted by someone louder and more drunk. Now the conversation has moved on to a new subject.  We give up. Time crawls at a snail’s pace.  We want to go home, but feel like it would be rude to leave after only ten minutes.  We beat ourselves up for not being more smooth and sociable.  We leave the party feeling pretty crappy.

The thing is, we usually don’t know which scenario will play out before we go to a party.  Whereas if we stay home and read or make turtle memes, we know we’ll have an enjoyable, small talk free night.  Well, at least we would if we didn’t feel so freaking guilty about not going to the party.

Wake me when it's over

Perhaps these scenarios sound familiar to some of you. Perhaps they are the story of your life.  If so, don’t feel bad about it.  There are a million reasons to feel guilty during the holidays, but being an introvert shouldn’t be one of them.

 

Have a (Somewhat) Merry Grumpy Cat Christmas ~ From Introvert Spring <3

Xo,

Michaela-Signature

9 Comments

  1. Ok, even as an extrovert, scenario 2 has happened more times to me than I can count.

    Reply
  2. I don’t consider myself being anti-social or bad at conversations, but the scenarios sounded so familiar, that it nearly made me cry. I was always wondering why this (specially scenario 2) does happen sometimes :-/

    The last party I was invited to, I was about not to go there, because I didn’t feel so well and would not know a lot of people. The host would also be very busy and it also would not be polite to “occupy” him the whole evening.
    In the morning that day, when I was reading a book, I was coming to a chapter called “How to survive on a party, where you don’t know anyone.” and here’s the wonderful trick, I like to share with you:
    “Go to the party early!”
    It sounds weird first, but I tried it that evening and it worked perfectly: As there are people arriving while you are already there, you can observe them and get some extra seconds to think about topics they might be interested in or if you even want to talk to them 😉
    You then can take the chance for a one-on-one or “small-group” chat, which feels usually more comfortable for us introverts than talking in huge groups. Plus: You have something in common with other people arriving early.
    But the most important thing you avoid by arriving early is to clash in/on a huge group or several groups that will scare you or make it at least even harder to integrate or participate in conversation than it already is 🙂
    Hope it does work for some of you, too as it did for me!

    Reply
  3. Enjoying your posts from last year. I do feel like grumpy cat this Christmas. I do love Christmas but not everything that goes along with it…shopping, crazy traffic, work, trying to please everyone and getting enough rest. Thank you for your posts.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Rhonda. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Michaela, phew!, luckily I did win that struggle with “crowded Christmas-celebrations”. 😉 – Several years ago, I said – in a very politely way – “no thanks” to each Christmas-invitations of friends or relatives. I said “no thanks” several times, because they didn’t understand, that a person could like it, to stay alone at Christmas. But I love it that much! – “Christmas” should be the time, to get QUIET and calm down, isn’t it? 🙂 – and so do I:
    I enjoy a happy “Introverts Christmas” with my cats and internet-pals 🙂 – hallelujah ! 😉
    The funny fact is:
    Meanwhile some of my “extrovert-Christmas-party-friends” are saying: “Your’re right! But too “quiet” we can’t stand”. –
    I’m a freelancer with side jobs and my only complete days off-time is in the ending of the year and I don’t like to mess these wonderful days up with a crazy “Nightmare Before Christmas”… Amen! 🙂
    By the way I like the “grumpy cat”
    -Matthias

    PS:
    Before I decided to be alone at Christmas, I always got depressed during this “holy time”. Since I said “NOPE!”, this time, for me is the most beautiful of the year… So, what’s better?, to say “yes” only to fit in society’s expectations and getting depressed or to say “no thanks” and feeling fine? 😉

    Reply
    • Hi Matthias, great to hear that you’re doing what makes YOU happy this Christmas! xo

      Reply
  5. I politely avoided Xmas parties this year, and instead caught up with everyone one on one at their place – completely social, and wayyyy more rewarding for us.

    All my shopping was done online – no stress, no lines, no awkward smalltalk with shopping assistants (ps – how awesome is self checkout when you actually have to go to a store!?!?!?).

    I live overseas from my family, and was invited by friends to spend Xmas with them (have a couple of times before – fun, but extroverted 8 hours), but I’ve opted this year to travel away for a couple of days BY MYSELF!!! Shock, horror… BLISS!!!!!

    Reply
    • Sounds like the perfect innie Christmas! Good thinking with the online shopping.

      Reply
  6. Great article. Christmas has been a hurdle for quite a while now but until I realized I was an introvert and specifically an INFJ, I never understood why it was not the great holiday that everyone makes it out to be. I have kids who are now grown but every year when they were little, there was stress as to whether they would like their gifts or think they had enough gifts. And my quiet family of four has left our house on Christmas morning each year to join my sister in law and her louder and larger family for brunch. This has never been what I wanted to do but it has been our tradition for twenty years. Although I have always pulled through and been social and they have been nice to me, I think that this year for the first time, I am NOT going to the brunch. My kids are old enough to choose what they want to do and my wife who is bound by familial bonds may attend for a few minutes, but I am ready to turn the page and enjoy Christmas day on my own terms. Thanks for posting this Michaela!

    Reply

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