There’s a reason you’re only given one family in life — because it’s really all any average person can handle. And with Thanksgiving coming up, that’s a whole family of different personalities all packed in tight around one tiny table. One poorly landed wisecrack is all it takes to turn this special holiday moment into a pile of hot mashed mayhem.
That’s why this year, with such a polarizing political climate in the air, it’s important to stay away from any political conversations at the table. Especially for the sake of Nana, who got up real early to get a start on this beautiful meal for you. But don’t worry, there are loads of other things worth talking about that won’t get the fam all triggered. In fact, here are a few starter topics to help get the chatter rolling.
The Change in Weather
It doesn’t take a licensed meteorologist to carry on a simple convo about the cold temps outside. And with Thanksgiving nestled into the back half of fall, there’s plenty of chilly air fodder to throw back and forth with your father-in-law. Maybe even transition into how he handled all his leaves this year, that’d be nice.
WARNING: Without careful monitoring, this convo can turn into a climate change debate, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid. Proceed here with caution.
Wall Sconces (or Other Recent Home Projects)
Now’s your chance to brag right in your brother’s nosy wife’s face — with her home décor blog and her two-thousand plus Instagram followers. Scroll through before and after pics of your fancy new bedroom wall sconces and even chat about what’s next on your plate. Heck, you could even mooch a few upcoming trends out of your sister-in-law while you’re at it. BONUS!
Your Favorite Memes
Nothing keeps the mood happy and light like a little round-the-table share-off of everybody’s favorite memes. Whether you’re into the classics like the “Ehrmagerd” girl or the latest “Ight Imma Head Out” Spongebob gems, you could spend hours and hours winning over the brats at the kids table.
That Song in Your Head
Whether you’re already humming Christmas jams or you still can’t get ‘Baby Shark’ out of your head, why don’t you talk about it? Maybe someone else at the table is going through the same pain and you can bond over this shared experience. Worth a shot. Of course, this could backfire and you could get someone else’s song stuck in your head now, but at least it’s a new one.
The Football Game on TV
Easily the best distraction from Turkey Day tension is any of the three or so football games on TV — especially if your team is playing. You and those cousins of yours that you usually spend the whole day fighting with can always agree on one thing, your hatred for the refs.
Your Awful/Amazing Vacation
Did you go on a family vacation this year? Was it unforgettable? Was it forgettable? Talk about it. Share those pics with the rest of the family and brag all about the zipline you mastered or the sunburn you really underestimated. And if it was a total bust, maybe someone can tell you about the amazing trip they went on, so you can avoid this kind of catastrophe in the future.
Who Would Win in a Fight, Mashed Potatoes or Stuffing?
Sure it’s a little goofy, but isn’t it just fun to think about? Like imagine a Godzilla-type movie where a giant mashed potato monster fought a stuffing monster over the tall buildings of Tokyo.
Black Friday Deals
It’s like your mom always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say on Thanksgiving, read the ads. And there are plenty of them. The newspaper triples in size on Thanksgiving, stuffed with oodles of circulars from stores you’ve never even heard of. But hey, anything is better than being cornered into another two-hour chat with Uncle Larry.
Things You're Thankful For
This should seem pretty obvious. After all, it is what the holiday is all about — sharing your thanks. Thankful for your family? Share it. Thankful for Ranch dressing? Cool, let the world know. The sky’s the limit, here.
Team Sweats or Team Yoga Pants?
What better time of year to talk about the benefits of pants that don’t pinch? And after a few too many rounds of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, you’ll definitely be feeling the swell and ready to discuss which elastic-waisted bottoms serve you best.
The Dessert Options Ahead
Now that those stretchy pants are in place, you’re locked and loaded for the next course — the whipped cream course. Pumpkin pie, JELL-O salad, or a triple-berry cobbler, now’s a good time to talk about what you’ve got your eyes and stomachs aimed at. Better get at it fast, though, Aunt Kitty’s really been eyeing those pies.
Go Get ‘Em, Pilgrim
There you have it, a Thanksgiving-worthy cornucopia of icebreakers and conversation starters to help keep the mood light, festive, and friendly without the fear of a family civil war breaking out. Have fun this holiday, and if you need to print this out and bring it along to help steer the conversation away from a political tailspin, go for it.
Good luck, and let us know what else you think would be a good “friendly” topic for the Thanksgiving table.