How to Avoid the Awkward Political Talk at the Thanksgiving Table

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The excitement of getting to leave all of your academic responsibilities behind for a week is certainly not a feeling to go unnoticed. Not only are you getting a home-cooked meal, but you’re getting a Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is definitely an event to look forward to – until you remember the controversial political conversation that is bound to unfold as soon as those forks hit the plates.

Given the chaos and shock of the most recent Presidential election, there is no doubt that the topic of President-Elect Trump will reach wide and far to many Thanksgiving dinner tables this year. Controversial political talk is simply inevitable when it comes to family holidays.

We all know when ‘Aunt Susie’ and ‘Uncle Bob’ come to town for Thanksgiving, there is no way that they will put up with Mom and Dad’s strict conservative political views. Or perhaps your grandmother is still stuck in the early 20th century, therefore her insight towards modern day politics is entirely irrelevant to your beliefs. So how do you avoid the heated tempers and clashing political views at the Thanksgiving table, you ask? Well, here are a few conversation starters to bring up to dodge a night of political upheaval and create the greatest diversions ever:

If you could have any 1 person at your table this Thanksgiving, who would it be and why?

This is a question that could essentially take over the entirety of your time at the dinner table. The myriad of people, both famous and not, that your relatives mention are bound to present moments of laughter, insight or long story-telling that go off on tangents. Then again, just hope that no one wishes that they could have a political figure at the dinner table…

Black Friday Jitters

Whether you think Black Friday is a mob of crazy, psychopath consumers or the greatest shopping day of the year, ask anyway. Everyone has that ‘Aunt Susie’ relative who lives and breathes off of the Black Friday deals and loves to brag about how much money she saved. “What time will you start waiting in line?” “Which stores will you go to?” “What are the best deals this year?” The list could go on. Get ‘Aunt Susie’ raving about her Black Friday jitters.

“Pass the mashed potatoes, please.”

There is absolutely no shame in second helpings at the Thanksgiving table, not even fifth helpings. Quite frankly, it is encouraged. Are you stuck in between Dad and ‘Uncle Bob’ arguing about the effectiveness of Trump’s immigration policy? Simply raise your voice with confidence, knowing that your needs mean more than the current political talk, and say, “Pass the mashed potatoes, please!” That is bound to stop them in their tracks and do nothing but fulfill your important request. Drawing more attention to the food is always key – it IS Thanksgiving after all. Instead, turn the argument towards brussels sprouts; little cousin Joey may hate brussels sprouts but you know that they’re actually an essential to a Thanksgiving table and worth fighting for. Plain and simple, always talk about the food.

Don’t let the brutality of politics obtrude in your family holiday. Remind everyone that keeping political conversation to a minimum and maintaining a mature etiquette is nothing but the proper thing to do. If all else fails, just argue about which grandkid Grandmom likes best.