12/16/2011 12:06 pm ET Updated Feb 14, 2012

Don't Let the Holidays Make You Their Bitch

I've been living home-free for over 7 months now, staying in hotels, furnished rentals, the occasional international airport terminal and with family and dear friends all over the world.

Depending on who I'm staying with, I'm either eating Lucky Charms for dinner, exercising regularly, walking around in my robe until noon, drinking wine with every meal, working my ass off, watching stupid kitten videos on YouTube or....

basically, I fall into my hosts good and bad habits.

I didn't even realize I was doing it.

This is part of what makes me, ahem, an excellent houseguest:

I'm game.

I'm flexible.

I'll make you feel okay about eating an entire chocolate cake in one sitting because I'm right there by your side with my own fork.

This is also what's making me five pounds overweight and craving some sort of consistency in my life.

It reminds me a lot of how so many of us go about spending our holidays, blindly heading down roads we'd rather not in the name of "tradition" instead of doing what really makes us feel good.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome things about the holidays, and I love trying on different lives, but there's a lemming mentality around all of it that leaves me with sort of a mushy, heavy feeling - like being buried alive under a pile of mashed potatoes. Literally.

For example, if you're like me and find battling the crowds to get the perfect gift for someone stressful and fun-free, don't exchange gifts over the holidays. Or slowly buy them all year long. Or write them a poem instead.

If you'd rather spend the holidays with your friends or your dog or digging wells in Kenya than with your family, do it.

This is the perfect time to assess our lives and our habits, expand on the good, ditch the bad, allow our authentic selves to shine bright and let that be our gift to the world.

Which is really something to celebrate.