Holiday Style Tips For Introverts

by Sonya Vatomsky

get out, right now

Death is inevitable, but houseguests are not. Get your home and your person ready for the holiday season (or any season, really) by stocking up on introvert essentials and giving any friends that wander into your domicile the vague, lingering sensation of not really wanting to ever do that again. It’s like that thing where you make yourself invisible in crowds, but for phone contact lists.

Where to start?

Research your town or city and identify the neighborhood where the most friends, family members, restaurants, and concert venues are. Then move across the city from it. Make sure people need at least one transfer on public transit to reach you; do not befriend anyone with a car. If you’re forced to host some kind of social gathering, aim for a sensible, convenient time like 2–4pm on a Wednesday. No, there will not be an after party.
Good: apartments with multiple staircases and rarely-working light fixtures
Better: fortified castles

Next, furniture. It’s important. Did you know that people will expect to sit down when they visit you? This is a good opportunity to remind them of that thing about assumptions and asses and u and me by ensuring that your seating arrangements are not hospitable to visitors. Throw out your couch; sitting encourages talking and talking encourages loitering and none of this works toward your goal of being alone in the dark. Bonus: you can use the money you would have spent on chairs to get a really nice mattress! It’s a win/win situation where the only one winning is you, and that’s how it should be.
Good: ”sit down, if you must”
Better: ”nope”

The bathroom is a sacred room and a good one to target. If you’re feeling outright malicious, disabling lamps and removing toilet paper is effective — but that’s not you. You don’t hate people, you just would rather that they, y’know, didn’t come over or invite you out or text occasionally or breathe.
Good: remove the post-bathroom clean feeling with a hand soap scented like salty black licorice
Better: hang inspiring artwork above your toilet (great for male guests!)

Time to work on the general atmosphere of your living space! Give your house, apartment, or castle a thoughtful, intellectual vibe by placing reading material around for guests to discover. You know those people who immediately gravitate to bookshelves and try to Understand Your Inner Being based on whatever books you bought before you got a Kindle five years ago? Your home should not be a nice, safe place for that kind of person.
Good: $115 worth of never-fully-gone childhood terror
Better: There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories

Home is where the heart is, literally. Treat yourself to trinkets that will remind your guests of the brief, ephemeral nature of life and urge them to think carefully about whose houses they want to spend theirs at. If actual body parts in jars aren’t quite your thing, you’ll be pleased to know that the advancement of human society has granted us a bountiful assortment of fake body parts available for purchase, whether they’re re-creations (“dissected” frogs made out of yarn!) or entirely fictional (severed elf hands!).
Good: antique prosthetic eyes in the colors of those you love
Better: mouse rump brooch, because you’re fancy

Time to think about refreshments. Guests love alcohol, and you don’t want to disappoint them. (Just kidding: you totally do.) If you’ve traveled internationally or merely spent a fair amount of time on the Internet, you’ll know that people have been drinking things that taste bad since the dawn of civilization. Your mission is to find these things, stockpile them, and convince friends and enemies that they really have got to try just a sip, it’s delicious, seriously.
Good: this Icelandic schnapps is made from moss & tastes like licking wet slugs
Better: this vodka has ghosts in it

Lastly, your body. It’s a wonderland, and it should smell like one. A high-strung, socially-anxious wonderland that just wants to take a bubble bath and listen to a podcast for the rest of winter. Cultivate a signature scent by mixing perfume oil blends from independent companies — by doing this, you’re also supporting your OWN independence. As you layer interesting fragrances on each other to create a unique aura for yourself, you’ll also be layering discomfort upon your houseguests as they ask what that weird smell is and you reply, confidently, “Ghost Fart.”
Good: fresh dirt
Better: cemetery

Now you’re ready to host. Happy holidays.

Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised poet and essayist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Delirious Hem, Entropy Magazine, Empath Lit, Electric Cereal, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, No Tokens Journal, The Riveter Review, Potluck Magazine & Weird Sister. Find her online at and @coolniceghost.