6 Things to Talk About Besides Politics This Thanksgiving

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Health & Lifestyle

Turkey Talk: 6 Things to Talk About Besides Politics This Thanksgiving

New games, pie, and outrageous gravy (!) that will keep everyone from fighting

By Lesley Jane Seymour and Vera Gibbons

It’s not just the turkey and stuffing that will be heated this Thanksgiving.

Conversations — while always warm this time of year, according to annual surveys by the Pew Research Center — are expected to be scorching. Even stress-inducing. After all, we’re in the middle of an impeachment inquiry for the first time in decades.

Scandals are pouring out of the White House daily, and the 2020 presidential election is rapidly approaching.

Factor in the reality that American politics are more divisive than ever and you may find your first course served with fisticuffs. We both know a few families that actually stopped seeing each other after contentious holiday arguments last year.

This begs the question: is it even possible to have an indigestion-free holiday?

We surveyed CoveyClub members, friends, and subscribers to the daily nonpolitical newsletter, NoPo, for their suggestions — beyond the simpering “be thankful,” “practice gratitude,” “change the topic” type of advice.

Here are our funniest, most practical, and yes, simply outrageous strategies sure to placate, pacify, and if necessary, medicate your most contentious relatives and guests.

1. Play Games
Do what He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned does — and distract. MyIntent.org offers a $15 deck of cards that asks thoughtful questions that will start conversations “in a meaningful way.” Partisans from either side of the aisle or from either side of the country can all bond over answers to “How are you making a difference in the world?” Grandma and grandpa can both answer “What can you do that you could not do a year ago?” The answers could even get funny.

Alternatively, consider TableTopics — a series of conversation-starter flashcards ($25) sure to engage and deepen connections. Questions from the “Family Gathering” edition include: “Who in your family does the wackiest things?” and “What tradition would you most want to pass onto your children?” For serious belly-laughs and some outrageously risque discussions, you can always try “Cards Against Humanity.” Parents be warned: this is not PG.

2. Seat Selectively
Take a cue from the publicists we knew who had to seat vicious competitors, such as the editors in chief of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, with perfect runway views at the fashion shows each season without putting any noses out of joint. Place confrontational people equidistant from each other, layering adorable (distracting) kids in between. (You might even have said adorable kids engage the adults around them in a crafts-type activity.) Put the foodies at one end of the table, the intermittent fasters at the other, the ketos in between. This allows natural conversations to pop up among people with the same food neurosis.

3. Say One and Done
Allow everyone to make one dumbass/contrarian political statement, after which everyone has to say “Thanks for sharing your opinion.” When Uncle Joe says “Trump is my kind of President,” everyone must say politely, ‘Thanks for sharing your opinion.’ When cousin Izzy says, “I can’t wait for President Warren,” everyone must say…well, you get it. You can only make one statement; after that, you’re done for the day. FYI, many folks will take a pass and simply go back to telling the same old stories they told last year, and you can all fall asleep early!

4. Own Your Bubble
If you live in a partisan bubble and know it, kick the interlopers out and just don’t invite them to your table. Says one happy bubble babe: “I want to be whole and no longer can sit back and spend time with people whose overall morals and integrity don’t align with mine. It’s more than politics and yes, that means family members and friends. At 61, I am living a totally authentic life and while to some this might seem harsh it works beautifully.”

5. Learn the True Meaning of Pi(e)
One friend plans to bake a pumpkin pie this year that says “RESIST” across the top, in whipped cream (naturally).

6. Hop on The New Gravy Train
If all else fails, go to Kiva Confections — a company that sells cannabis edibles — and smother that turkey with their relaxing “limited-edition, cannabis-infused Turkey Gravy.” It offers “fast-acting technology that allows for faster THC absorption…In just under 15 minutes you’ll start feeling the effects, so you can sit back, relax, and let the holiday cheer wash over you.” How’s that for Norman Rockwell 2019?


Hat Tip: Andrea Todd, Patrick Taylor, Alan Brown, MaBelle Bray, Rachel Kessler, Sonja Neill, Tina Smith, Carol Lentille

Lesley Jane Seymour is the founder of CoveyClub.com, a networking site for women.

Vera Gibbons, a long-time member of the media, is the founder and editor of nonpoliticalnews.com, which produces a free daily nonpolitical newsletter called NoPo. Previously, Gibbons was a financial contributor with The Early Show on CBS, worked as a correspondent for CNBC’s High Net Worth, and was a Financial Analyst for MSNBC. She appeared regularly on all NBC platforms, including the Today Show, Nightly News, and The Weather Channel’s Wake Up With Al, hosted by NBC’s Al Roker.

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