It’s holiday time and we’re all so excited! We can’t wait for get togethers with the family and out of town guests, holiday shopping, coking and traditions, maybe a visit to Disneyland … tree trimming, carols and New Year’s celebrations with poppers and party hats! What a ball we’re going to have.

Well, some of us, about 70% of us, are going to have a ball. But what about the remainder, the introverts? Introverts make up 30% of the population.

If your child is an introvert, you may actually be torturing him or her with well meaning activities like noisy celebrations, visits to Disneyland, large gatherings of relatives and elaborately staged gift opening routines. Listen to the voices of the introverts I’ve interviewed about “Holiday Time”.

“Disney at the holidays is my biggest nightmare,” said one young introvert. “I’m more afraid of there than of dying, seriously!”

Another commented, “I drive my extroverted husband and daughter crazy. They always insist on surprises … treasure hunts, impromptu visits … God I haaaaaaate that. I just want simple, family oriented celebrations. For them celebrations mean lots of noise and more noise. No! Plus the Disney thing, nooo Disney for me pleeeeeeeeeeease.”

“Holidays?” says another. “I cried and threw up a lot as a kid and now I understand why! Throwing up was a reaction to the stress of just too much stimulus and too much being expected of me in public situations at those times.” An introverted man commented, “Poppers at New Years, augh no! No no no please no. Way too loud and startling. In an ideal world, none would be allowed in a one mile radius of me. Party hats maybe. If people aren't waving them around and cluttering everything up with them they are borderline tolerable, but still distracting and stressful. ”

* say yes to soft lights, music and time to enjoy

Another guy volunteered,” Small family gathering is about all I can take. Disney and theme places, oh my gosh. No. Just no. I'm sorry. No, no, no. ! And actually, ideally, maybe not even family either. Ha!”

These introverted adults are able to pick and choose among holiday options and expectations but children are not. Most holiday activities are planned for extroverted children. According to Paul Tieger of, extroverted children love jumping into new social situations. They are energized by interaction, love variety and activities and enjoy talking spontaneously (without thinking), yelling, etc.

Introverted children on the other hand like to watch from the idelines. They are energized by having a chance to reflect on things alone (in a room with a door that shuts). They like to concentrate on one thing or person at a time. And they need to think it through before they speak.

* say yes to wrapping presents

* say no to opening presents with an audience and much drama!

How can you improve on your introverted child’s experience of the holidays? Here are some guidelines for introverted children.


1. Keep social activities to an absolute minimum.

2. Rehearse required social behavior carefully. Introverts are easily humiliated in public. Good byes, hellos, thanks yous and handshakes should be reviewed at home first. Include a few simple words your child can use and leave it at that … such as “Thank you for the nice time, Mrs. Jackson.”

3. Limit noise and lights where possible.

4. Limit size of gatherings.

5. Avoid uncomfortable clothing.

6. Avoid putting child in spotlight for “present opening”.

7. Allow breaks in activities so your child can retreat to a safe place for contemplation and restoring batteries.

8. Introverts are intensely territorial. If humanly possible, please don’t kick them out of their own room or bed for Aunt Sally or Grandmother Gertrude.

9. Introverts are territorial about their own physical space, too. If you can possibly arrange for relatives to look and not touch, that would be very nice. Hugs and smooches are not welcomed by introverted children.

10. Make watching from the sidelines perfectly OK. It is the preferred way for introverts to participate.

This year enjoy your holidays more knowing that your introverted child is comfortable, too. Follow the TOP TEN GUIDELINES for introverted children.

* please say no to performances door to door (caroling)


* cooking quietly with mom or dad and a sibling

If you have any question as to the appropriateness of an activity for introverted children, please email The IntrovertZCoach at

Author's Bio: 

Nancy R. Fenn is the IntrovertZCoach. It is her mission in life to raise consciousness about introversion as a legitimate personality style. Learn more on the web at