My boyfriend and I are heading to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. He's not the first guy I've brought home, but he's the first in a long while. My family is known for being nosy and inappropriate, and frankly, they're embarrassing. I am not looking forward to this trip. Any advice? --A.K.

You are not alone. Here's a dirty little secret about the holiday season that no one's supposed to admit: Folks don't really enjoy it the way all the commercials and Hallmark cards would have you believe. Everyone likes the good food, the bountiful drink and the days off from work, but studies show that most people have high levels of stress over family holiday get-togethers.

If you can't take the heat from your family, seriously consider avoiding the headache by not going home. A few years ago, I stayed put for Thanksgiving with my then-boyfriend. I baked a veggie lasagna and bought good wine; he made baked chicken and picked up a cheesecake from Junior's in Brooklyn, N.Y. (At least one tradition was kept.)

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Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at

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