Can we all take a big sigh of relief that the election is over? Ok, maybe we need an extra big sigh, or a giant glass of wine or a very long vacation from social media or to move to another country and lay on the beach and not speak the word “election” again.
But win or lose, hope or fear, tears or joy it’s over and now we all have to sit down and share Thanksgiving dinner together. It seems almost Kismet and laughable that just weeks after a divisive election we are supposed to say “please pass the potatoes” to our relative who has been sharing an endless stream of fake news stories for the past 18 months. Or that liberal Aunt Sally and Conservative Uncle Ted are going to peacefully break bread.
But it is possible and even necessary for us to sit down, enjoy a meal and a tradition that has been going on longer than any political movement. So unless you can spend your Thanksgiving on the beach with a cocktail here are some tips for peacefully passing the potatoes.
- Don’t be the guy that brings it up. Yes, the election has loomed over every social event like the elephant in the room but ignore it.
- Go high, as in if it comes up smile, pass the potatoes and change the subject.
- If it continues to come up a quick, “let’s not ruin Thanksgiving by bringing up politics” can quickly stop someone in their tracks.
- Talk about the children. Grandparents will never choose to talk politics over a chance to brag on their grand kids.
- Talk sports. There are even two football games on Thanksgiving day. I’m not a sports fan but I can pull together a quick conversation about the strategy of running the ball vs passing the ball. If you aren’t down on the football lingo just repeat what the commentators say and if that fails just keep saying, “you’ve got to run the ball, you’ve got to pass the ball, you have to get in the end zone” it’s always true and no one will argue with you.
- Let the kids run the show. Have them keep loud mouthed Uncle Ted busy with the 500 piece Lego set that Nana felt the 6-year-old had to have.
- Take it outside. Suggest a game of football or a family walk.
- Walk away. If you can’t convince them to change the subject walk away. This should let them know that you aren’t comfortable with their conversation. And if someone is cool with making you uncomfortable in your home on a holiday then maybe they don’t get an invite for Christmas.
- Take a drink or two. I always have a glass of wine before company comes over that way I’m not starting the day with my back against the wall.
- Put them to work. Bring up politics and you get to do the dishes. Want to talk Trump you take out the trash. Crying over Clinton, peel some onions.
- Don’t sit polarizing personalities together. Sit a kid between them.
- Play pass the baby. As in “oh you want to talk politics here’s a baby, isn’t she cute,what you smell something, excuse me I need to check the Turkey.
- Be respectful, more than half of voters voted for a candidate that lost. It’s highly possible that not everyone shares your opinion or wants to hear it. Don’t gloat, don’t wallow.
- Go shopping. Look at the clock and remind your guests that you’ve got Black Friday shopping to do. Or take your lap top and hide upstairs with a bottle of wine while shopping for deals. If anyone asks remind them of the must have gift that you need to get under the tree.
I’m all for civil political discourse but there are some people who aren’t capable of it and if you follow them on social media you likely know who they are.
No matter who won the election you were family before it and you are family after it. It’s not all that surprising that someone in your family voted differently than you did. Likely you saw it coming and hopefully they did too. And hopefully the people you have invited into your home this Thanksgiving respect you enough to respect your opinions and keep theirs to themselves. And if they don’t, that says more about them than it does about you, they may choose to try to push your buttons but it’s up to you if you let them.