We’re SO CLOSE to unlimited turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and wine and pie and most importantly WINE. We can almost taste the food in our mouths, hear our uncles shouting about football in the background, and see the fall festivities if we close our eyes. We’re looking forward to all of it, especially seeing friends and family we’ve been away from for a while, but that’s not to say it’s always easy — or easy for everybody — to go home for the holidays. Especially after this election, many people are facing a lot of potential conflict and tension at their dinner table. It’s almost too easy to list the things never to discuss at Thanksgiving dinner.
But have no fear, we’re here to help you diffuse it. Here are five things to bring up at the dinner table to get people talking during awkward silences or swerve skillfully away from minefields like politics and the complexities of the Westworld universe.
1. We don’t generally advocate bringing up television as a peacekeeping device, but this year it’s easy: Talk about Gilmore Girls.
Statistically, at least a few of the people at your dinner table are or were fans. And while there are some debates to be had — Jess, Dean, Logan?! — they’re mostly in good fun. Talking about television (especially if you’re somebody passionate about television) can be more stressful than one might expect, but Gilmore Girls feels like a pretty safe topic, especially since the new series is coming out right around Thanksgiving.
2. Talk about people’s pets!
Ask your aunt about her schnauzer. Make sure your cousin’s cats are doing well. Coo over pictures of your uncle’s new puppy. Show everybody your incessant Instagramming of your own pets. Ninety-nine percent of the population loves animals and will never pass up an opportunity to smile at a cute cat or dog pic, and the other one percent of the population are definitely psychopaths, so this will help you see who you’re REALLY eating dinner with…
3. How crazy is it that the Cubs won the world series!?
Everybody loves an underdog. (Under…bear?) Unless you’re from Cleveland. If you’re from Cleveland, talk about anything but this.
4. Talk about how good the food is.
So, so basic. So, so safe. So, so a lifesaver when your family starts in on that whole “when are you going to settle down and get married” thing.
5. Come up with a few positive memories that involve the family or friends you’re celebrating with, and reminisce.
Everything looks rosier in retrospect. Think about funny things you’ve experienced with your loved ones, or moments that were really meaningful to you. Nostalgia makes everybody feel all warm and fuzzy. Pair that with the wine, and you’re good to go.