The 16Personalities Holiday Survival Guide

Laura’s avatar

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re scrambling to find last-minute gifts, squabbling with loved ones, or scraping yourself together for yet another party when all you want to do is stay home in your pajamas. (Here’s looking at you, Introverts.)

If we don’t set boundaries and take care of ourselves, the holiday season can drain our wallets, sap our energy, suck up our free time, and even strain our relationships. The irony is that these stressors distract us from what the holidays are really about: gratitude and togetherness.

Here are 16Personalities’ best to-do tips for holiday self-care – so you can feel more joy and less stress during this busy, beautiful season.


Architects (INTJ) and Logicians (INTP): Experiment with the holiday spirit.

For Introverted Analysts, some aspects of the holiday season can be uncomfortable or even annoying. Parties may feel like forced togetherness, and all the fuss over gifts and shopping can seem downright irrational. That said, getting into the holiday spirit can feel good for these personality types – helping them to feel more connected with others and more at ease with the season in general.

To Do: As an experiment, choose one aspect of celebrating the holidays – whether it’s decorating, sending cards, or baking cookies for friends and loved ones – and go all in. Note how you feel before and afterward. (Take inspiration from our esteemed colleague Kyle, an Architect who did a similar experiment for Halloween.)

Commanders (ENTJ) and Debaters (ENTP): Give back.

Based on our research, Commanders and Debaters are among the personality types who find the holidays the least stressful. For these types, this season isn’t something to be “survived” – it’s a welcome opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones. Ideally, the holiday season also allows these Extraverts a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle and reevaluate their perspective on life.

To Do: Volunteering can be an incredibly effective way to achieve this renewed perspective. Look up a local food bank or shelter and sign up for a volunteering shift. Alternatively, you can draw on your social network to organize a gift drive, food drive, or coat drive for those who are less fortunate. Even though the purpose of these activities is to help others, chances are you’ll also reap benefits.


Advocates (INFJ) and Mediators (INFP): Take mini-escapes.

Obligation can weigh heavily on the shoulders of Advocates and Mediators, and goodness knows that the holiday season heaps obligation onto us. In addition to attending parties and exchanging gifts, these personalities often take on the responsibility of ensuring that everyone is happy. Even when they’re not hosting, they worry about anyone who stands alone in a corner or doesn’t receive a gift. All of this is, to put it mildly, exhausting for these Introverted Diplomats.

To Do: Set aside at least one obligation-free night per week during the holiday season: no shopping, no wrapping gifts, no writing cards, and no helping someone else do their shopping or gift wrapping or card writing. If you find yourself saying, “Oh, that’s impossible,” question whether that’s really true – especially if you’re feeling stressed. What advice would you give to a friend who’s feeling overwhelmed by holiday obligations?

If you absolutely can’t set aside obligation-free time, take mini-escapes during parties and gatherings. Head to a room (even the bathroom!) where you can sit alone with your thoughts – or a book. Doing this for just a few minutes can feel surprisingly reviving.

Protagonists (ENFJ) and Campaigners (ENFP): Open your circle.

More than half of Protagonists and Campaigners say that the holidays are their favorite time of year, and it isn’t only because they want gifts or a few days off from work. These personality types truly relish the togetherness aspect of the holiday. Enjoying delicious food and long conversations with the people they love – what could be better?

To Do: You can really stoke your holiday spirit by being even more inclusive than usual. For example, if you’re hosting a gathering, think about inviting people you know who are new to the area or who don’t seem to have a lot of connections. Alternatively, you can seek out people at parties who seem to be stuck on the fringes, hoping someone will talk to them. Draw them into a conversation, ensuring that they feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Chances are you won’t find this particularly difficult, and it’ll probably feel good for you as well as for them.


Logisticians (ISTJ) and Defenders (ISFJ): Celebrate small wins.

Logisticians and Defenders want the best for those in their lives. During the holidays, this desire can go into overdrive. If it does, these personalities may find themselves worrying about getting everything “right” – keeping up the “right” traditions, buying the “right” gifts, finding the “right” thing to say at gatherings, and so on.

To Do: Chances are you already keep a to-do list. Now it’s time to keep a to-done list. Each night before bed, write down all the things you successfully did that day. Include such “small wins” as picking up the dry cleaning or buying stamps for holiday cards. You may be amazed to see how much you’re managing – and seeing this list grow day after day will help you realize how much you’re already getting right.

Executives (ESTJ) and Consuls (ESFJ): Take a break from fixing others’ problems.

’Tis the season to connect deeply with friends and loved ones – and that can be surprisingly stressful, particularly if those we care about are struggling. Executives and Consuls may feel obligated to share advice with their loved ones this holiday season – whether it’s on how to eat, how to manage finances, or how to find a better job. Alas, this can backfire, creating defensiveness, souring the mood around the holiday table, and frustrating Extraverted Sentinel personalities who only want to help their loved ones.

To Do: Remember, most people need to be self-motivated to do things in their lives differently. They could hear the best advice in the world, but if they’re not ready to make a change (or if the advice just doesn’t resonate with them), they won’t follow it. So, allow yourself a break from offering advice this holiday season, unless others ask for it. This can prevent tense exchanges between you and your loved ones and help reduce frustration on your end as well. You can always offer advice and guidance once the holiday season is over, but let yourself off the hook in the meantime.


Virtuosos (ISTP) and Adventurers (ISFP): Prioritize rest.

Particularly for Introverted personality types, the holidays can be tiring. All those parties and gatherings can slowly (or not-so-slowly) drain their energy. Add to this Explorers’ exquisite sensitivity to the sensory world – including the din of voices and music – and the holiday season can become downright overwhelming for Virtuosos and Adventurers.

To Do: Prioritize rest this holiday season. Whenever possible, set aside half an hour of quiet time to wind down before bed. Cut back on late-night and early-morning obligations to allow more hours for sleep and relaxation, and don’t be afraid to skip some events in favor of a little peace and quiet.

Entrepreneurs (ESTP) and Entertainers (ESFP): Take a no-spend day.

Based on our research, Entrepreneurs and Entertainers are among the personality types least likely to save money in preparation for the holidays. Unfortunately, this season can be surprisingly expensive, especially with all the gift-giving and party-going. When expenses add up, Entrepreneurs and Entertainers may find themselves feeling tense. If they blow off this steam by shopping or going out, the situation can become even more stressful.

To Do: Set aside a “no-spend” day, embracing the challenge of making it through a day without spending money. (To prepare, you may want to stock your fridge and fill up your car with gas.) This activity can help you become conscious of your spending triggers – whether that’s clicking through online shopping sites or going out with friends. It can also ease some of your anxiety about spending, reassuring you that you have more control over your finances than you may realize. You might even discover that, with your personality type, you have the ingenuity and creativity to handle all kinds of situations without spending a cent.

Parting Wisdom

The holidays can be stressful, but such stress isn’t inevitable – unless you don’t set aside any time for self-care. Taking care of yourself is a commitment, and it isn’t always easy, particularly when it feels as if your calendar is full, your energy is dragging, and everyone wants something from you.

If you find yourself slipping into unhelpful habits this holiday season, be kind to yourself. Take a moment to notice the thoughts and feelings that are going through your head. Then, open your calendar and figure out the soonest time you can take for a bit of self-care. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, that time can make all the difference in helping you to enjoy this season rather than merely survive it.

Do you have some tips and tricks for surviving the holiday season? Share them with us in the comments below! And, if you’re interested in more insights into how your personality type deals with stress, check out the following articles on our website!

How to Take a Mental Health Day for Your Personality Type

Well, That’s Awkward: Social Clumsiness and Personality Type

Handling the Holidays, by Strategy