Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and for a lot of us, that means we'll be spending time with our family members, some of whom may not share all our views. I think you know where I'm going with this — a lot of us (even if we don't want to admit it) have family members who have or have expressed views that are racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. Any other year, we might have just sat back and awkwardly looked at each other in silence when a family member said something bigoted, afraid to make waves or "spoil the day." But this year, it's ever the more important to call out people when they say hateful things — even if that person is your relative.
That being said, however, sometimes it's OK to change the subject. Maybe you've reached your limit, maybe you're figuratively talking to a brick wall, maybe you are feeling harassed and unsafe. Whatever the reason may be, there may come a time when disengaging feels like the right move for you. So if you do feel like you need a break, I've come up with a list of non-divisive things to talk about at the Thanksgiving table.
1. The Weather
Lame? Yes. Effective? Also yes. Everybody's got an opinion on the weather, and no matter what's going on outside, someone will be able to find a way to complain about it.
2. Holiday Music
OK, this one might be sort of divisive, but less so than other topics like — oh, I don't know — the current political climate. You either can't wait to hear "All I Want For Christmas Is You" blaring from every speaker at all hours of the day, or you feel very strongly that we need to wait until December for holiday music. There's no in-between, and it could be fun to have a low-stakes debate on the merits of seasonal music.
Most of our relatives are on Facebook by now, whether we like it or not. That means there's plenty of conversation fodder there. It could provide a good educational opportunity to tell your aunt that she doesn't need to sign every post with "Love, Aunt Marge."
4. The Beloved Celebrities Who Passed This Year
Prince, David Bowie, Sharon Jones — we lost a lot of great ones this year. I think everyone at dinner will be able to agree the celebrities who died this year were gone too soon.
5. Stranger Things
Is the Stranger Things fervor over? Hopefully not. Time to share those fan theories. Justice for Barb!
Honestly, just trust me on this one. Try explaining the premise of the TV show Catfish to your older relatives and see how long it takes for them to get it. Extra bonus points if you can actually get them to watch an episode, because my brother and I still haven't gotten my parents to sit through more than 30 seconds before they storm off, declaring it stupid and muttering to themselves about how our generation loves to "debase themselves on national television." That is a direct quote from my dad, by the way.
7. What Your Relatives' First Jobs Were
This is a fun way to learn a little more about your relatives and also hopefully put your life in perspective. I think I have more than one family member who worked at Carvel for a significant amount of time, which makes me feel better about the fact that, for a long time, the only job I could list on my resume was "camp counselor."
8. The Ridiculous Trends Of The Time Periods In Which Your Relatives Grew Up
This is the kids table's time to shine. For now, we can laugh at our parents, aunts, and uncles for all the misguided fashion choices they made — before it's us on the receiving end of the laughter.
Football on Thanksgiving is a thing, right?
10. The Food
If all else fails, just stuff your mouth full of food and compliment whoever did the cooking. Never fails.
Images: Gabriel Garcia Marengo / Unsplash; Giphy (10)