Thanksgiving is just days away, and after that, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Christmakkuh, or any combination of December holidays are fast approaching.  I do love this time of year and all the wonderful things that go along with it:  decorating the tree, the smell of a pine and delicious baked goods, excellent Christmas movies on TV, amazingly bad Lifetime Christmas movies, making fun of holiday cards, especially if they feature an awkward picture of a funny-looking family, laughing at religious nuts who get grouchy about being told “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” laughing at stores that go out of their way to be overly secular, laughing at families who make it their mission to have the most lights and humongous snow-globes on the block, admiring pretty and tastefully decorated houses, constantly editing my wish list (I’m not too old!), presents, building fires in the fireplace, hoping for snow, etc.  I could go on and on. However…  there are also some things about the holiday season that really annoy me.  Although I do feel lucky to have family at all, and to have enough money to even complain about celebrating, there’s no getting around the fact that the holidays can be an inherently stressful time.  Whether it’s at the Thanksgiving table or around the tree on Christmas Eve, you’re going to be dealing with some annoying things.  Here’s my pick of what annoys me: 1. Pretending to be interested in relatives you don’t care that much about Why are these holidays always the time some random relative you rarely see is suddenly invited to partake in your celebrations? It’s made even worse if they bring their whole family.  Now you have to inform them that you’re not your sister/still in college/working in a profession you claimed to want to work in at age 10/not married, etc.  And what’s worse is that you have to ask about them and their kids.  You’ll have to sit through 20-minute self-congratulatory speeches about how their kid is a gifted musician/writer/tall for his age/developed for her age (shudder)/a talented athlete/applying to college.  The funny thing is, that family member probably feels the same way about you:  he/she hardly knows you, doesn’t really care what you’re up to, and has no idea what to talk about with you.  The worst part of it all is that that person is there, and you and your family can’t make fun of them like you usually do. 2.  Black Friday I don’t get it.  I hate shopping to begin with.  I love clothes, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t mind shopping in a nice, empty boutique after drinks at lunch, or online.    After Thanksgiving, I’m usually watching a movie or asleep.  I’m certainly not lined up outside a Best Buy at midnight. My whole family hates shopping, so we’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday.  However, I once worked on Black Friday at a clothing store while in high school.  It was insane!  Grown men and women, parents, clamoring to buy massive amounts of clothes at a discounted price for their kids, while buying, and therefore spending, more than they needed.  The whole thing seems like a ploy developed by retailers and aimed at unassuming customers wanting another tradition. I’d much rather pay a little extra then trample past hundreds of customers to grab the latest whatever.  I’ve been told by friends, “It’s such a rush.”  If I needed a rush, I’d go to an amusement park.  Or try heroin. Either would be preferable to me than shopping on Black Friday. * The Gloss’s editor, Lilit, just informed me of a burgeoning phenomenon called Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday is basically the online version of Black Friday, except instead of happening on Friday, the massive bargains will take place on Monday.  They’re trying to trick the online shopper in me, and I don’t like it. 3.  The pressure to buy presents for people you don’t know much about This usually occurs with fathers, brothers, boy cousins, etc.  Who knows what they want?  I’m sure they feel the same way about me. Typically, I’ll let my mom pick something out for my dad and I’ll take credit for it.  Or I’ll buy my little brother something he desperately needs, like clothes or cologne (nothing like a subtle hint, right?).  If I can’t think of anything, a lot of times I’ll turn to gift cards.  Everyone likes reading, right?  Barnes & Noble?  Actually, that’s a present I’d like to get for myself.  I like getting gift cards, especially to nice stores, because it forces me to go shopping, and I always feel accomplished after.  But I digress.  I think that people who don’t know much about one another, either because of a gender, or generational, gap, should just agree to spend their money on something nice  for themselves.  Or donate it to charity.  Or save it. That way, you won’t wind up with things you know you’ll never use, like actual Nutcrackers. 4.  Magazines and websites promising to help you lose holiday weight… … When they’re also the culprits that convinced you to eat all that in the first place, with new recipes and putting so much focus on food. I love food more than words can say, but there’s no reason we have to eat way more than our bodies will allow, and then freak out about losing it before New Year’s Eve.  This reminds me of last Superbowl, when my girlfriends and I bought a ton of food for ourselves and then watched the game.  I remember thinking to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this?  I don’t even like football.  Why did we buy all this crap?  I’m not even hungry.  I really feel like a nice salad, actually.”  Sometimes, people get so caught up in traditions that they don’t realize they don’t even enjoy the tradition.  Thanksgiving is definitely all about the food, but that’s no reason to go overboard.  There’s always leftovers, and aren’t turkey-and-stuffing sandwiches the next day the best part? 5.  Having people stay over at your house Growing up, Thanksgiving was always the holiday my parents hosted, which led my siblings and me to proclaim every year, “I hate Thanksgiving!”  My parents would be so stressed between cooking and cleaning, and would interrupt us during the parade, asking for help making deviled eggs, vacuuming the dining room, setting the table, cleaning up the bathroom, etc.  Inevitably, someone always cried.  Now, I still hate having Thanksgiving at my house; rather, I hate having out-of-town family over my house at all.  Besides being stressed about making sure everything goes smoothly, it’s always awkward afterward, when all I went to do is get out of my house or lay in my bed watching TV.  It always ends up everyone in the family room, squeezed uncomfortably close on couches, watching some dumb movie that definitely doesn’t contain sex or cursing, like Fred Claus, waiting for it to be bedtime.  And then, if they sleep over, one of our parents will give away one of your pillows to the guest you’d least want to share a pillow with, claiming, “Why do you need so many pillows, anyway?” * For tips on how to be a good guest, click here.  And for tips on how to survive the holiday’s with annoying family members, click here. Bah humbug.  What are you some things you hate (or love) about the holiday season?