Fake it ‘Til You Make It: Family at the Holidays

Thanksgiving is the best. It’s a holiday about food, football, and family. And there’s napping. All in all, a great day in my book.  Another reason I love it is because it doesn’t have all that religious stuff around it. What I mean is, you can say “Happy Thanksgiving” to anyone without thinking about it. Everyone celebrates in some way. And you’ve got friends and family coming together, hearth and home etc…

Most people spend the holidays with their family. And with Hanukkah falling on Thanksgiving this year, a lot of you are going to have even more family to deal with than usual. So how do you do that? How do you navigate all of those awkward conversations, inappropriate comments and hot button issues?

By changing the subject.

Here are 8 helpful subject changers and conversational distractions for when your dad and boyfriend get into a debate about Obamacare. Or your grandma starts to lecture your brother about safe sex (I was uncomfortable just typing that).

1. Hey, Uncle So and So, can you explain pass interference to me again?

Nothing calms a worked up football fan like having to explain a rule of football…unless they are actually watching football. And in that case, it is best to just leave them alone. But if Uncle So and So is worked up because your cousin just told him he is quitting college to become a yoga instructor, then asking him to explain a complex rule of football is a good distraction. Your cousin will say “namaste”.

2. Who’s seen the new Tom Hanks’ movie? I heard he could get an Oscar nomination.

It doesn’t even matter what the movie is, Tom Hanks is the most universally beloved actor of our generation. His name will calm the most heated of debates. And if it’s a debate on gay marriage, even better… Hanks’ first Oscar win was for playing a gay lawyer in the movie Philadelphia. Tom Hanks FTW!

3. I still can’t believe that Kim Kardashian and Kanye named their baby “North West”.

The goal of this phrase is to get people to have a common enemy. We might not all agree on who was to blame for the government shutdown, but we can all agree that “North West” is a joke of a name and those two should probably just go live on the moon or something. Plus, while it is old news to us, your older relatives might be just finding out about it.

4. Grandpa, I’m so glad you and Grandma made it here before the storm.

Doesn’t matter if there wasn’t a storm within 100 miles, mention the weather to Grandpas the world over and they will stop what they are doing to talk about it. This works on Dads too.

5. Speaking of healthcare, I saw on Dr. Oz the other day that chicken soup really does help cure a cold.

This works on multiple levels. First of all, it’s a fun fact (and true). Secondly, and most importantly, everyone loves Dr. Oz. He’s one of the least controversial people in the world… after Tom Hanks, of course.

6. Oh, Cousin Larry, how do you like your new phone? I was thinking about upgrading.

Your cousin is telling everyone his Newtown conspiracy theory (oh yea, there are people out there like that). Quickly ask him about his phone, new or not, because people love to rant and rave about their cellphones and cellphone carriers. And it’s a debate that won’t end in tears or thrown utensils.

7. Which of JT’s “20/20 Experience” albums do you like better?

We’ve all got that relative that we have little to nothing in common with. Or maybe it’s your brother’s new girlfriend that you don’t know. Either way, JT can bridge any gap in conversation with any female between the ages of 25-40.. Because she is a female and has eyes and depending on her age, you can also pepper the conversation with thoughts on Britney’s upcoming album too.

8. I love this casserole/pie/turkey/cranberry sauce, what’s in it? I’d love the recipe.

Classic Thanksgiving conversation diversion. This is a last resort move though. Save it until the situation is dire, and traditionally it works best with older female relatives.

If all else fails, show them this video. No one is going to argue after that.

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