I have a strong dislike of holiday hubub. Large crowds make me cringe. When I was a child, I would often hide out in a quiet place during the holidays when there were lots of people in the house or when I was around lots of people. I’m not really antisocial, but I am actually a bit shy. And uncomfortable around a lot of people and a lot of noise.

And then there’s all that holiday convention stuff – you have to decorate, buy presents and send cards. No wonder people like me welcome online shopping and electronic communication. I actually lost a friend because I wrote a Merry Christmas email and the reply was that this might not be an appropriate way to communicate Christmas greetings. Although I was an early adopter. Now, I think it’s easier. But I don’t send cards much either now – every once in a while.

I don’t like a lot of visual and aural stimulation. Although I love being in New York at this time of year, I love to see lights and I like sappy Christmas movies. But shopping and noisy parties, crowded churches make me long for a dark space.

There’s much to be thankful for and to enjoy, but in measured doses. And it’s important to do what each of us really wants to do, not be bound by conventions and endless obligations. Be with the people that matter. For some of us, it’s a smaller circle than others.

I really don’t hate people. But I really value my quiet and solitude.