Thanksgiving Dinner: To Feast or Fight?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving is all about eating dinner with family together at the table. This means there are bound to be some sticky conversations or for some little talking.

Here are some tips for creating a great dinner conversation:

* Let’s say that cousin Joe brings his hoochie-of-the-moment to dinner. Strike up some chatter by paying her a compliment. Tell her that you like her airbrushed nails or two-toned hair. It’s okay to lie a bit in this situation.

* Everyone loves a vacation. Ask family members about their last trip or any upcoming trips.

* Purchase a copy of People, Time, Sports Illustrated and a local newspaper. Read all of these on your way to dinner. You will be able to chat with everyone from Aunt Ida to Uncle Bob. I was actually surprised two Christmas’s ago when my pap said “I think that Angelina Jolie is pregnant.”

* If there is a student at the table – college, high school or even pre-school, ask about their classes and teachers.

* Spending turkey day in Pittsburgh? Just talk about the Steelers. Bonus points if you can share a story about a recent run in with Big Ben, Jeff Reed, Heinz Ward or the Bus.

And a few conversation “don’ts:”

* Try not to bring up religion, politics or the economy.

* If things get really bad, pretend to sleep. Blame it on the turkey. Don’t play sick – you may offend the chef.

* Be careful with the booze. You don’t want to get dirahha of the mouth.

Ways to change the subject or avoid the topic:

* If someone starts asking you questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering, simply say “can we talk about that later?”

* Let’s day the family gets into a heated debate over politics. Do your best to remain silent. If someone calls you out, tell them you are just listening to everyone’s opinions.

* Don’t attend dinner. Order Papa John’s and stay at home.

(sources:, San Diego Union Tribune,; picture from