‘Twas the night before Christmas, when feelings of holiday cheer and terrible anxiety flooded the Judger. The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year — for the most part. But as an INFJ—one of the eight Judging types in Myers Briggs typology—my Judging component often gets tested come November and December. These glittery months should be easy to manage with their predictable schedules, and yet I still find myself amidst chaotic delays and plan changes each year. It’s a vicious cycle. Naturally, I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas time. 

For Judgers, the holidays present an equal amount of pros and cons. But we Judgers, who love taking matters into our own hands, can maximize the former while dealing with the latter. Here are my personal tricks to staying sane during the Thanksgiving and yuletide season.

The Pros

Let's start off with the good. It's safe to say that plenty of Judgers enjoy the holidays — or at least the idea of them. Christmas traditions mean predictability, which is perfect for organized Judgers. Many customs, such as giving gifts to loved ones and hoisting up the tree, never change. 

Personally, I plan holiday affairs. I put thought into my gifts. I RSVP for a party long before New Year's Day or Christmas. As a Judger, I thrive on the musty whiff of an almost-finished planner at the end of the year, and I rarely ever let those final few pages go blank. I create plans through December with maniacal fervor, generating lists upon lists. The reason why I love the holidays so much boils down to scheduling and planning. 

1. Working with predictable schedules.

It’s easy to get a sense of how these two months look, making them a dream for the plan-loving Judger. The holidays fall on the same days each year: Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, Christmas is on December 25th, and New Year’s Day is January 1st. Holiday events start around the same time, so people have a good idea of when their local ice skating rink will open and when the town Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place. At work, clients and employers also typically let workers know which days they take off, so it’s a breeze to organize December schedules way ahead of time. Plus, people know when they’ll see their families, so they can plan their visits (and the potential stresses that entail). 

2. Making lists and checking them twice. 

During the holidays, Santa makes lists and checks them twice. Judgers are doing that as well, and probably even more carefully than jolly old St. Nick. Whether they’re for presents, recipes, or decorations to buy, holiday lists simply make life more organized in December. With all there is to do and see, what better way to deal with this information overload than breaking it down into manageable tasks to complete?

Lists allow Judgers to streamline chaotic times. They increase productivity and put our minds at ease so that we can enjoy the holidays. If I’m not dawdling around a department store to buy gifts in the spur of the moment, I can spend more time with my loved ones. 

How to Maximize the Holiday Cheer

Here’s my secret formula for making the most of these pros: To keep the holidays manageable, I write down everything I want to do, from paying visits to friends to hitting up holiday events. I mark a monthly calendar with when I want to do these things, then create separate lists for the budgets and tasks these plans entail. 

The Cons

Now, let’s talk about the less cheery aspects that come with the season’s greetings. Christmastime can be inordinately stressful due to heightened expectations and the lack of time and resources to fulfill them. This poses problems for Judgers, who just want everything to go smoothly. While I inevitably buy into the holiday hype each year, I’ve grown weary of Christmas movies and commercials that sell impossible to replicate versions of December. 

All the good-intentioned planning in the world couldn’t create an ideal Christmas. But with a little flexibility, your December may remain merry and bright. Let’s talk about the cons of the holiday season, then dive into how Judgers can manage them. 

1. Dealing with all of the delays.  

Time is of the essence for Judgers. It’s the building block for how they organize their time. One of the biggest problems with the holidays is that things rarely go as planned. First, there’s the matter of work-life balance. As the quarter closes, last-minute work creeps up as colleagues and clients take time off, which makes it difficult to enjoy or find time for holiday festivities.

Even when you’re finally off-duty, the fun can turn on you. Someone shows up late, or a flight doesn’t leave at the right time. Then there’s the matter of delays while you’re going about mundane tasks. During the holidays, shopping for food and gifts can be a nightmare as you brave lines with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people. Stores are packed around this time of year, especially the week of Christmas and Thanksgiving. For Judging types who plan their days by the hour, delays are not only annoying, but also derailing. 

2. Trying to keep up with Christmas commercialism.

Judgers also face the pressure of making the holidays the very best that they can be. Decision-making is difficult with the choice paralysis that creeps up this time of year. You get the nagging feeling that things could always be better. But it’s impossible to ski slopes, bake sugar cookies, go ice skating, and sing Christmas carols all at once. Overthinking holiday plans makes it easy to lose the spirit of the season as you chase after a commercialized version of Christmas

Additionally, pursuing an ideal holiday can be difficult on the wallet. People routinely spend money on Christmas festivals that require extra spending beyond the entrance and fancy ornaments that end up in donation boxes come springtime. 

How to Manage Holiday Chaos

In a nutshell, Judgers may find the holidays chaotic and disappointing even when they put great thought into their Christmas itineraries. So what's a Judger to do to manage these yuletide problems? My mantra is to keep it simple. We Judgers can get lost in the details, so it’s best to take a step back and give ourselves permission to enjoy Christmastime. But we only have to take one small step back, since we don’t want to relinquish control altogether. 

To deal with yuletide chaos, I start with leaving leeway in my daily agenda. I avoid micromanaging the holidays too much. As an over-planner who gets frustrated when things don't go as planned, I now designate bigger time slots for Christmas events and shopping. For example, seeing an old friend will likely require more than one hour, so I allocate an ample four to six hours for hanging out. The same goes for shopping. I know that I won't be able to find gifts for everyone on my list in half an hour with holiday foot traffic at the mall. Thus, I allow myself half a day on a given weekend for shopping (after having an idea of what to look for, of course). 

To deal with rampant Christmas commercialism, I stick with what I love and say no to the other stuff. Establishing tradition helps me follow plans and adhere to budgets. I skip a hyped-up holiday tradition if I know I didn’t enjoy it last year. Remember the expensive gingerbread house kit that goes uneaten and stale on an annual basis? Yeah, that’s not happening again. While I stay open and generous, I avoid buying into everything that the holiday season sells me to preserve my sanity. 

Try the tips above and see if you find yourself more at ease during the holidays. The stockings might not be hung on the chimney with care, and the creatures might be stirring. But even if that’s the case, Judgers can still enjoy Christmas without overthinking it. 

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey is a freelance writer and INFJ based in California. She often muses about the newest Netflix shows or lifestyle trends in her writing, which you can find at PopSugar, HelloGiggles, Dotdash, and more. When she’s not hammering away at a keyboard, you’ll find her listening to NPR, wandering in a plant nursery, or reading a book. Pay her a visit at www.stacey-nguyen.com.