Surviving Family Thanksgiving


Pass the potatoes, hold the politics.

we gather together

Thanksgiving with my family has never been a fraught event but, for many, it’s all about surviving the holiday. For us, it’s been a day of stuffing our faces with entirely too much delicious food with family. No drama and no stress other than the stress that comes with cooking a large meal. Which, admittedly, can be pretty stressful but “is the turkey done yet” stress is not “here’s my opinion on Kavanaugh” stress, am I right? 

Since I’ve recently found myself on the opposite end of the political spectrum from many members of my family and my family really, really enjoys talking politics – I am developing strategies for the upcoming holiday season. We all know the biggest disagreements at the dinner table on Thanksgiving should be who is getting the wishbone and maybe whose team should win whatever game is on. 

My top strategies for creating a politics-free Thanksgiving: 

  • Set a dress code. I’m not talking about having a black-tie holiday, but leave the MAGA hats and Nasty Woman t-shirts at home. You might really love your partisan apparel, but you are just asking for trouble and you know it.
  • Stuff their faces. When someone starts a sentence with something along the lines of, “This midterm election cycle …” don’t be afraid to offer another bite of turkey, mashed potatoes, Aunt Edna’s famous carrot casserole, etc. Really. Put that bite of holiday goodness right into their pie hole if you need to. It’s much harder to discuss exit poll results with a mouthful of green bean casserole.
  • Use your kids. You went through the pain of childbirth for them. You’ve cleaned up all manners of bodily fluid. You’ve stepped on Legos in the middle of the night. This is the payoff. Grandparents love their grandkids. They love talking about their grandkids and to their grandkids. And your kid can talk for hours about Paw Patrol, Fortnite or whatever their current obsession is. Someone brings up politics? Whisper to your little precious that Grammy has never heard Baby Shark. Now it’s dinner and a show! Problem. Solved.
  • Focus on the purpose of the day. This is a day when we celebrate all we are thankful for, not all that bothers us about the country’s current state of affairs. While you might be thankful for the freedom to discuss the things that frustrate you, let’s leave it at that and not go into details about what those things are. Families have shared experiences and, hopefully, good memories and love between them. Celebrate the ways you are more alike than different and make happy memories for your kids to share when they are the adults sitting around your dinner table.
family thanksgiving
Check out this holiday dress code – boots, sweaters, shorts over pants … whatever!
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April is a Mississippi native and has been a Coast resident since 2000. She and her husband, Neil, were married in 2001. In 2010, they welcomed their one and only child, Vaught, to the world and have been trying to keep up with his boundless energy and creativity ever since. April is a communications director at a local company and spends her time outside of work being a dancer’s mom, a football coach’s wife, an occasional blogger and an avid reader. She is not afraid of a dance floor or a karaoke machine, but only if they have the Beastie Boys. She is a Ravenclaw and Carrie Fisher is her hero. She is constantly narrating life in her head so, if you have ever met, there is a good chance you are a character in the story she is mentally writing.