12/06/2012 08:08 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2013

The Holidays: Don't Let Them Win

It's finally the holiday season! For most of us, the holidays are the most exciting part of the year other than President's Day and Beyonce's birthday. But as exciting as the holidays are, there's no denying that joy and laughter are not the only things the season brings. Following are a few holiday traps I'd like to bring to the table, in hope that people will be able to identify and avoid them early on:

1. If you're single, don't remind everyone. Of course no one wants to be single during the holidays but unfortunately many people are. Remember, no one has to know that you are buying those Godiva chocolates for yourself and not your significant other. It can be a secret that the unisex zip up you bought is for walking your dog on chilly nights and not for your boyfriend/girlfriend. Don't pity yourself, you're just one of many. Be strong! Do you really want to say how lonely you are just to have your great aunt pat you on the back and announce to the table that anyone who doesn't love your personality is crazy. Come on. I know that we all want to be the girl from Love Actually that British Prime Minister Hugh Grant falls in love with but it's not happening this year because one, the leader of our country is taken and two, the leader of our country isn't Hugh Grant.

2. Thoughtless gift buying. We all have that relative or friend that is impossible to shop for. The worst part is that we live in the 21st century so by now everyone knows the whole "Here's a gift card because I didn't want to take the time to pick something out for you" tactic. So now what? Instead of picking out a gift that "kind of, sort of" fits their interests ("Hey Cousin Phil, I got you this neat figurine of Pope Benedict XVI because he always wears a hat and so do you!), save your energy. Instead, how about channeling that energy into making a nice homemade gift for your loved one? Has anyone ever turned down a pair of hand knit oven mitts or said no to a homemade drawing of a sunset? Nope. Maybe a blind person with no hands.

3. A lull in the conversation. What happens once you've gotten past talking about how your uncle's work is going, what your brother is learning in school, and how your cousin got a "Ruled by Love" tattoo on her ribcage without telling her parents? Before the silence gets awkward, how about suggesting a game? Here's an idea: Each person gets a chance to go around the table and name their favorite notable extramarital affair. There's nothing more American than talking about high publicity affairs while enjoying a glass of eggnog. Points will be given based on the originality of each response. One point for General David Petraeus because all you had to do was read the cover of his biography All In to know he was having an affair with the author. I would have probably chosen a less telling title, something like Foreign Affairs With General David Patraeus. Well. Two points for Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings because this demonstrates historical knowledge (encourage learning!). Three points for former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. This response deserves three points for being so costly. Spitzer's relationships with prostitutes were said to total close to $80,000, which is equivalent to about 133.3 purebred Welsh Corgi puppies. Other notable affairs can be given the appropriate amount of points based on the discretion of family members.