Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool
To be sung to the tune of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:
“It’s the most draining time of the year
…with the kids all demanding
…and parties to be attending
…I just want a nap!
It’s the most draining time of the year…”
Confession: Several years ago, I went to a holiday party organized by a local playgroup. I arrived with my three small kids and we walked into the echo-y gym where about 50 other children ran around, screaming with delight, Christmas music playing in the background.
Still holding my children’s hands, I turned straight around and walked back to our van, strapped them in car seats, and turned on Christmas music of our own. Fifteen minutes or so later we went back inside for the slightly more structured time of pizza eating and cookie decorating.
This post is for anyone else who has ever done the same. Or wishes they had.
Would you prefer to listen to this post?
Every year I search for a magical technique to help me rock the holidays as an introvert. And every year I fail, LOL.
This is a busy time for all of us, extrovert or introvert. But for those of us who are introverted moms, this time of year holds special challenges. We’re more likely to have our margin for rest and quiet eroded, and as people who gain energy through time alone, that can be crazy-making.
There is no magical method, but here are a few bits of holiday advice that have helped me…
1. Keep your homeschool expectations in check.
December will not look like September in your homeschool, so please don’t expect it to.
One of the best parts of the homeschool life is the ability to flex during the holiday season: to cut back on school, or take the entire month off, or just take it day by day, adding in time for baking, wrapping, movie watching, decorating, crafting – whatever you love (and whatever you hate that still needs to get done, ahem).
So decide what you will and will not do for school during the month and don’t carry a bit of guilt over it!
2. Keep your holiday expectations in check.
Being an introvert does NOT mean that you don’t like people. #commonmisunderstanding It does mean that you recharge mostly through time alone, however. Therefore the holidays, which are such a “people-heavy” time, present a challenge.
Introverts will not experience the holidays the same way that extroverts experience it. They might not enjoy the same activities that extroverts might. Simply understanding and accepting this will help you be aware of and set appropriate expectations.
Knowing that the hustle and bustle might be difficult at times, I use a journal to “capture joy,” writing down the beautiful moments as they happen so I can hold on to them when draining moments arise.
3. Create traditions that will be fun for you, not just your kids.
Going to sit on Santa’s knee at the crowded mall might not make the cut, but a Christmas movie marathon with hot chocolate and fleece blankets could be perfect.
If you need help getting started, find my favorite movie suggestions that you might not have heard of here and check out those that are free with Amazon prime here (afflink)!
4. Volunteer to clean up.
This advice comes in handy during any crowded gathering, whether it’s a holiday party or Christmas Eve dinner.
Cleaning up gives you a role to play that is separate but needed, making it ideal when the background noise starts getting to you. Plus everyone will be grateful that you’re doing a job they don’t want to!
5. Make healthy self-care a priority.
Each day of advent, prioritize a few moments of quiet.
Let’s get ready to ride the waves of the next few weeks with courage and grace, fellow introverts.
There will be times when those waves try to crash over us, but that’s okay. Now we’ve learned how to swim out from under them and get on top again. Here’s to a beautiful advent season, introvert style!
What helps you capture the joy of the holidays as an introvert?
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I struggle SO much with the academics during December. My son is in 6th grade and I somehow feel like he should be doing more structured academics than his two younger sisters, just because of his age. How do we reconcile this without zapping the joy from the season?
Hmmm, that’s a good question, Amy! I like to use the “backwards tracking” method in a month like this – meaning I write down what we DID get done instead of trying to plan what WILL be done, and then being frustrated afterwards that we didn’t meet my expectations. I also like to reserve one day a week that I think of as our “light” day. For us that is Thursdays for this month. And then we do a lot of holiday fun, movie watching, etc on that day. It still gives us some structure in the month while also having plenty of fun to look forward to…
Will your new book be available on Kindle. Please. Its not showing up as a preorder.
This happened every week at church til I switched churches. Why so much loud music and loud talking. How are we supposed to think straight let alone be in a right mind to worship God.
Sorry I keep posting. Thanks for letting me know we are not alone.
I’m so glad you felt that way reading it, Amanda! And yes, my new book will be on Kindle, but for some reason those preorders are not open yet. Please stay tuned!