What can be trickier than keeping all the side dishes hot on Thanksgiving Day? Keeping heads cool during dinnertime conversation.
If your family or dinner guests have wide-ranging views on politics and religion, just tell everyone before they arrive that the topics are impolite and you expect courtesy. That might not be enough because these days people have strong views on everything from the weather to school. But it’s a start.
The key to great holiday conversations (or any conversation, for that matter) is fun and it takes a deft hand to keep it that way.
As the host or hostess, you may have plenty on your mind from cooking the turkey to not forgetting the cranberry sauce again this year. But, here is one more thing. If you have a fun story or anecdote to tell, have it ready when the family and guests sit down to the table. Anything that starts with ‘remember when’ might get the conversation started or keep it from veering into forbidden territory.
Invite people to talk by asking simple questions: So, Bill, how was your flight?
If a comment or question is directed to you, give a little more information than you might otherwise. Hey, Dad, fabulous turkey again this year! Don’t just say thanks. Use the opening to tell them something: Our regular store closed and I had to scramble to find a turkey big enough. Found one at Smith’s — have you ever been there?
Let the conversation flow. Even talking over one another is okay, so long as it is lively, fun, and polite. If it isn’t, give them the evil-eye and insert your prepared anecdote.