- Season tickets to the theater, symphony, baseball—whatever your introvert loves—are a dual-purpose gift: Introverts get to do something they like, and it gives them a reason/excuse to reach out to others (maybe even you) and get out of the house, something we can sometimes get a little lax about.
- I’ve asked Santa Husband for a bird feeder to hang outside my home-office window. I took a writing retreat earlier this year to crunch through a deadline, and the cottage I rented had a feeder hanging outside the window where I worked. The avian hustle and bustle there provided endless entertainment and was perfect brain sorbet for when I tired of my own thoughts.
- Got a traveling introvert? How about some really good noise-canceling headphones? These will be especially appreciated if the FAA lifts the ban on cell phone use in flight. (Please, please, please, please don’t FAA. Please.)
- Classes are a particularly good way for introverts to meet new people, since there is little pressure to chitchat but lots of common ground for real conversation. Plus, you get to learn stuff, which is always cool. Perhaps your introvert would enjoy a cooking class? Gardening? A language? I enjoyed taking a life-drawing class, and teaching a sewing class. Check out continuing education at your local community college.
- Hobbies can really rack up expenses (my annual bill for fabric grows ever larger) but the things a hobbyist needs can be very specific. Consider a gift card for crafts or art supplies, hardware, sporting goods or whatever hobby turns your introvert on. (I'm generally not a fan of gift cards—I find choosing my own gift stressful—but I make an exception here.)
- A book, of course. No, not an Amazon gift card. Actually choose a book you think the person would like. Give it a personal touch. Maybe a brand-new bestseller, a hardcover extravagance. I’m looking forward to reading Wally Lamb’s new book, We Are Water: A Novel. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is getting rave reviews. Or perhaps a biography—Doris Kearns Goodwin has a new one, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. If you’re a fan, as I am, of Allie Brosh’s brilliant blog, she has a new book out that is likely to be equally brilliant, called Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened. Or an art book--maybe Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work. Or perhaps even (cough, cough) my book.*
- Oh, and how about an e-reader? I haven’t succumbed yet, but I’m increasingly tempted by the immediate gratification they provide. And my public library lends e-books, too, which appeals to my tightwad side. But before you invest, make sure your introvert isn’t old school. Some people are dedicated to analog books.
- And finally, an outlier: My friends are tired of hearing me talk about this already, but The Science of Thriving: at Work and in Life is a series of interviews with academics who research various aspects of success, and it’s absolutely fascinating. This isn’t just motivational blather, it’s based on empirical data about motivation, follow-through, mindset, and more. I bought the series for myself and have listened to many of the interviews more than once. For the price, you get videos, MP3s and transcripts. Actually, the website that produced this series, entheos, has a lot of interesting programs for personal growth. If your introvert is that sort, you could give a subscription.
So, there you are. Did I give you any ideas? Do you have better ideas? Go ahead and leave them in the comments. Help all the holiday elves out there with their shopping.