Christmas clearly came early for all of us when Michelle Obama walked on stage in those thigh-high gold Baleciaga boots, but the sad truth is even the fiercest FLOTUS ever cannot save us from the horror show that is the holiday season.
The “us” I speak of, is specific. Christmastime is hard on extroverted introverts. And/or the introverted extroverts. I can never figure out if they are are actually the same thing or which one I am. But, whatever label you slap on my personality type, I know I’m not alone because Buzzfeed did a listicle. So, this being the season of sharing, I will speak for all of us.
Also, I am fueled by a couple glasses of really good Claret from my third Christmas party in two days (of a total of 6 in 5 days) and it feels right to speak in the first person plural.
Though let me go back to first person, for a sec…
I love Christmas!
I’m a let’s take the Christ out of Christmas kinda gal. A celebrant of the good ol’ all-American secular Christmas. Though I do have a backstory that includes Midnight Masses and Nativity scenes, so I get why a lot of people cling to both Baby Jesus AND Santa. If you want to celebrate the, clearly an Aries in actuality, J-Man’s b-day in Capricorn territory, that’s a-okay. And if you want to just hang with a more Winter Solstice vibe, that’s also cool. Christmas is a time for fudge and cookies, multiple trips to BevMo, and shopping in swanked-out malls. Though most importantly, a crap ton of love for your fellow humans.
And second most importantly it’s about the Christmas music. The Simon Le Bon part of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” gives me so much un-replicable joy. And Darlene Love! And friggin’ Elvis “Blue Christmas” sexiness! Right?!
Christmas just gets me so excited!
Parties are awesome, but for our kind they are also exhausting. Why so many of them? And why do they not involve us just sitting together eating passed appetizers and collectively watching Christmas movies on our iPhones? I think we’d also be way into a Harry Potter marathon group watch. But instead. it’s so much small talk and so many distractions on the way to either 1) get some (maybe four, don’t judge) Carmelitas from the buffet table without anyone noticing so you can eat them in a dimly lit hallway, or 2) be the center of attention.
You may wonder how Imaginary Inner Oprah feels about this — I think she’s on our side. She loves Christmas too. (And it’s obviously her whispering to you when you find the perfect gift for the white elephant exchange that’s not only going to get stolen twice, but might cause a fight in the parking lot later). Sometimes we are called to be the sparkly angel/star on top of the tree and we must entertain. Jazz hands and all. But we don’t have to like it. And we sure as hell have the right to be drained from it. Sleeping the whole next day and possibly flaking on the next two parties — that is called self-care. We deserve it. Nay…we earned it. As IIO would say, “We need to engage in loving self-value practices like giving ourselves the gift of stillness…or pie in the comfort of our own bed.”
Work parties are another sticky candy cane flavored wicket though. Like for example, I work in the performing arts…wait for it, there’s more…throwing events and parties. That’s right, shindigs are my livelihood, so I can be as charming as you can afford to pay me. And that brings a lot of expectations when I’m playing myself at the office holiday fête. We are expected to perform. Dance, Christmas monkey, dance! We can’t just no-show.
Little swaddled baby Jesus, forgive them, they just don’t know the psychological turmoil these gatherings bring! They think we want to be swilling hot wine and hotter gossip. Xeroxing our butts, sexual harassment video seminar be dammed. Once they smell any extrovert on you, they suspect something when you cling to the walls and sneak out early. They don’t care that your friend in marketing just mentioned Elaine Hendrix and you desperately need to go home to watch The Parent Trap, they will worry that you are thinking about quitting. Or worse yet, not a team player. We need to be among the last 5-8 people at the party whereas those introverts in accounting — they only need to stay for the first hour.
This might be something we need to bring up in our next evaluation. There might be a case for some policy being written. But until then, we suffer through the laughter and frivolity.
Yes, sometimes we enjoy the parties. Sometimes maybe a little too much. That’s okay. No…that’s fantastic! I wish us all the strength to attempt enjoying every last fizzy sweet drop of the season, but know that I’m with you in spirit if you really want to peace-the-fuck-out of a soiree over the next two weeks. Go find a corner, get on your phone and leave me a comment. I will be sitting in on a lawn chair in a dark part of the backyard ready to read it.