Thanksgiving is all about getting the family together for a good old fashioned holiday celebration. But gathering with people you may not see very often can pose a challenge when it comes to holding a conversation. Sometimes, knowing what not to say is just as important as having a few go-to conversation starters in your back pocket.
Given that, here are five conversation topics students home for break would do well to avoid at the family dinner table this Thanksgiving:
1. Talking about your diet
You’re on a diet? We’re proud of you, you look fantastic. But please don’t talk about it while everyone is stuffing their faces with delicious Thanksgiving food. Comments like, “no thanks, those are empty calories,” or “are you sure you want another serving of yams?” just make people feel bad about indulging, something that many of us have been looking forward to for weeks. Thanksgiving has never been about eating healthy, let’s all just accept it.
Also included: On the contrary, bragging about how much food you have eaten is also frowned upon. You’ve had five servings of mashed potatoes? Awesome dude. Keep it to yourself.
2. Negative food commentary
This may seem elementary but any food commentary that doesn’t reflect positively on the cook is a definite no-no. Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the family is hard enough without people reminiscing about how Grandma used to make her pies from scratch – unlike this year’s cook. Unless YOU prepared dinner, refrain from reliving the past, no matter how delicious it may have been.
Also included: Although a good, hardy burp is “compliments to the chef,” save it for another meal.
3. Gloating to a rival sports fan
Your brother-in-law’s favorite team is having a horrible season. Again. He most likely already attempted faking an illness to get out of showing his face in front of the family so don’t make it worse by gloating that your team is on its way to clinching a fifth straight division title. Few loyalties are as strong as the one between a true fan and his/her favorite team so try and avoid any scathing remarks that may cause a family member to sulk or pout. And no, inviting them to help you root for your team this post-season is not as gracious as it sounds.
Also included: Using sports lingo or catchphrases to emphasize any dinner time activity. Example: Proclaiming “boom goes the dynamite” after finishing your last bite of turkey is off limits.
4. Hinting at your holiday gift list
Nothing strays farther from the concept of “giving thanks” than utilizing Thanksgiving dinner to continuously drop hints about your Christmas wish list. Yes, I realize that all your gift-givers are probably surrounding you at the table, but just because doling out the list now would be efficient, does not mean it is appropriate. Talking about all the new gifts that you want was cute when you were five. But now, everyone just judges you a little.
Also included: Highlighting Black Friday advertisements to use as placemats.
This is so obvious, but too important to leave off. Nothing kills a dinner time conversation faster than Grandpa griping about Obama’s health care bill or Aunt Sally blasting congress for their immigration stance.. In reality, most people don’t know enough about political issues to make an argument one way or the other and political conversations generally highlight what people disagree on, not what they have in common. If you want to remind yourself why Thanksgiving dinner with the family is an annual holiday, not a weekly tradition, then politics is the way to go.
Also included – Anything about Sarah Palin’s family.
What topics are off limits at your holiday table?
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