How to Survive the Holidays from a Personality Perspective

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The holidays can be a stressful time as routines are upset, travel and deadlines must be met, gifts purchased, and then the excitement of being with family can suddenly take an unpleasant turn as our buttons get pushed by those we had looked forward to seeing. How does this happen?

As human beings we consist of four personality types.

Try to think of yourself as plaid because while we each have all four personalities within us, there is usually one that is predominate as it drives our decisions, our passions, and how we process the world around us. Yes we do have the other three, but in most cases, they take a secondary seat to the personality that is driving the bus.

Without a strong understanding of our personality type and how this can direct decisions and reactions to daily experiences we can react subconsciously to the words and actions of others. The actions of others may not be intentional but our core values are tested and before long we can find ourselves in a challenging situation and our holiday gathering is suddenly stressful and tense.

A brief outline of the four personality types.

Those wrapped up in a green bow tend to be very analytical by nature. They are very methodical and rarely approach a topic without having thoroughly researched it. For this reason when they make a statement they believe it to be true and can appear to be combative and critical. The thing to remember is that in most cases, due to prior research, the individual wrapped in a green bow is usually factually correct. They pride themselves on personal competence and value that trait in others.

The challenge of conversing with an individual wrapped in a green bow is that they are not always comfortable in a crowd and as a result can present as aloof or unapproachable. Their conversations may appear to be direct which can cause others to react from an emotional perspective.

Those wrapped up in a blue bow tend to be very empathetic by nature. They tend to speak from their heart and can react emotionally to stories told by others.  Due to their intuitive nature individuals wrapped in a blue bow are able to observe and process information that others sometimes miss. Because they can often relate to the situations of others they can, at times, feel a compulsive need to protect. They tend to use words like “I feel” which can be a button pusher for the individual wrapped in a green bow because, in their opinion, emotional comments lack credibility.

The challenge of conversing with an individual wrapped in a blue bow is that they tend to be very passionate and can be like a dog with a bone if they feel others are missing the point. On the plus side they are able to balance this with the ability to confidently talk about just about anything, which allows them to move freely around the room.

Those wrapped up in an orange bow tend to be very entertaining by nature. These are the personality types at holiday gatherings that people are naturally drawn to. They can be animated, loud, and tend to speak quickly moving with ease from one topic to another. Because of their flexible nature others can misinterpret this as confusing or irritating.  Similar to trying to pin jello to the wall.

That is OK, because the individual wrapped in an orange bow tends to be very easy going and are very adaptable and less likely to be reactive. They, as a rule, tend to go with the flow, easily following conversations, engaging in activities, and rarely get distressed by the situations going on around them.

Those wrapped up in a gold bow tend to be very traditional by nature. Conversations may rally around family, holiday traditions, community service, recipes, decorating, etc. They like others to respect time and commitments and their entire day can be derailed if others show up late for holiday celebrations or especially dinner. Those wrapped in a gold bow can be resistant to change and this can sometimes be mistakenly interpreted as negative or rigid.

How to enhance the holidays by addressing personality types.

For those wrapped up in a green bow provide them the opportunity to share their knowledge and compliment them on their innovations. Be open and receptive to their observations and opinions and recognize their need for accuracy.

For those wrapped up in a blue bow recognize their uniqueness, imagination, creativity, and how observant they are about the environment around them. They like to be recognized for their ability to help others and their communication skills. Compliment their feelings and ideas and show how you appreciate their contribution to the gathering.

For those wrapped up in an orange bow incorporate some fun activates into the event. These could include charades, cards, or cribbage. One very important thing to remember is that if you are in competition with an individual wrapped in an orange bow never cheat. While they don’t like to lose, a relationship with an individual wrapped in an orange bow can be permanently damaged by dishonesty. Provide them with immediate feedback and reinforce their energy and endurance.

For those wrapped up in a gold bow ask them to share family history with you. Many take pride in reciting the family history and the complex connections of those in their family. They can remember birthdates, anniversaries, and death dates and recite them on command. Recognize their organizational abilities, their fashion sense, or their ability to stretch a dollar. Reward their loyalty, efficiency and dependability.

In conclusion, the good manners rule always applies. Arrive to your function on time, complement your host and hostess, and bring a small gift to show them how much you appreciate their efforts. Be a respectful listener and always think before you make a comment, judgement, or provide your opinion evaluating first if what you have to say will add to the existing conversation. Engage with others in the room and show an interest in things that are important to them.

Finally, be accepting that everyone is different. Each individual makes decisions based on their value system. Each has their own interests, strengths, talents, and stressors. Understanding how another perceives the world will not change them but it could increase your tolerance over the holiday season.

To understand you personality type on a deeper level or those in your family please contact me at