8 Actually Positive News Stories To Bring Up At Thanksgiving If You Need A Buffer

This coming weekend will be a blur for most Americans, especially if you're heading home to celebrate the holiday. You maybe fly out early Thursday, or take a red-eye Wednesday night if you're lucky. Then you spend a few days eating turkey, watching football, and relishing pumpkin pie leftovers. Then — before you know it — it's Monday morning and you're back at work. The whole holiday moves at breakneck speed. One thing that can move at a glacial pace, though, is awkward conversations with distant relatives at the Thanksgiving table. Maybe they're racist or homophobic, sure, but more likely they just think of you as the same 12-year-old you were the last time they saw you.

So, what can you talk about? Well, these nine stories can help you keep the Thanksgiving conversation interesting without having to detail the finer points of your private life to cousin Earl. No, you don't have to be Adele to save Thanksgiving: Say "hello" to a few great news stories from 2015. Common ground can be found on any number of topics — not just cute cat photos. Make yourself a cheat sheet. Read up on these, and you'll be sure to make it through seconds and thirds without any awkward pauses.

1) Strong Jobs Reports

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Who doesn't love a strong economy before the holiday shopping season? Even your conservative family will love the news that the economy kept adding jobs in November. Unemployment is at 5 percent.

2) No Nukes, But Plenty of Rugs

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe not everybody can agree on the Iran nuclear deal, but here's a way to relate to those against it: Who doesn't appreciate a nice, warm walk down the hallway? Thanks to Obama's deal, Persian rugs will be on offer in the U.S. market once again after sanctions end.

3) It's Never Too Late

Do you ever hear your grandparents drop into conversation some things they wish they'd accomplished? Tell them to keep trucking! A 97-year-old Michigan woman graduated from high school this year, nearly 80 years after she dropped out her junior year to take care of her siblings when her mother was sick with cancer.

4) Airbnbs In Cuba

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Airbnb has been having a great year in Cuba as it scales up its number of listings in the country. Who wouldn't like to visit Havana? At least 37 percent of Americans are considering travel to the island, and with the house rental website in the mix, a trip should be even easier. Family vacation?

5) Nigeria Making Ground Against Boko Haram

BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images

As terrorists make Europe, Lebanon and other corners of the world increasingly dangerous, there has has been some good news coming out of Nigeria this year. The country has had large-scale rescue operations since the spring rescuing hundreds of Boko Haram hostages.

6) New Emojis

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

The emoji update had a very important gift for Thanksgiving: a turkey. Send festive messages to those who couldn't make it home, and introduce family members with dumb phones to the 21st century.

7) Strong Dollar

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Who can't agree on a cheap vacation? The dollar is up 10 percent this year against global currencies, so plan an overseas vacation stat to take advantage. Convince your parents it's time to explore the family's roots and go visit the old country.

8) The Happiest States

Given that many in your family may be living far from home, compare who has it better. WalletHub compiled a list of the happiest states this year. The perfect opportunity for a happy (and small-scale) argument — fingers crossed, everyone will get their fill and avoid the more controversial topics.