Here’s What To Talk About At Thanksgiving Instead Of Fighting About Politics

The general rule of everything in life is that it never quite works out the way you expect it to.

“No one talks about politics at Thanksgiving,” you say with confidence the day before you get on the train home, only to find yourself sitting at a table clutching a glass of Pinot while your newly-Republican cousin rattles off all the reasons why we need to build that BEAUTIFUL WALL. Naturally, your sister’s boyfriend whose parents are undocumented will start crying. Your mother will drink more wine. Your father’s asleep, because the itis hits him earlier and earlier with each passing year. Grandma Shirl, so sweet, so gentle, so hard of hearing, wants a live recap.

By pecan pie and coffee, Yung Trump and your sister have vowed never to speak to each other agai, your dad is still asleep and you bumped into your aunt in the bathroom, rifling through your cabinets looking for the Valium. Is this what you want? Is this how you’d willingly choose to spend your Thanksgiving, a holiday meant for sticking your finger in the gravy before it’s finished and eating marshmallows as a part of your actual dinner?

If you have a secret racist or a closet Republican or someone in your family who recently found Christ and is very, very interested in sharing that knowledge with you, it feels … obvious that you’d do your best to steer away from hot topics like politics or religion. But even if your entire family is on the same page politically, that doesn’t mean your conversation will be harmonious. Imagine arguing about Roman Polanski with your brother while your mom stares in horror at the ungrateful wretches she raised. [It Happened To Me! — Amelia] Opinions are so chill and fun because they’re nuanced and multi-faceted, just like you, you precious angel.

Even if you all get along and love each other and think the same things, the likelihood that you’ll find tiny holes in each other’s arguments is very, very high. You can fight with your dad’s shitty brother about the definition of consent literally any other time of the year. I implore you, keep it light! Keep it loose.  The best conversations with family happen in corners, a glass of wine in hand and a plate of crudite and stuffed mushrooms to share. No one wants to sit through a weird reenactment of a Democratic debate while everyone else looks at their phone and wonders when it’s time for pie. The cultcha this year has blessed us with so many other things to discuss. Here’s just a smattering of thought starters for your holiday gathering.

1. Justin Bieber’s redemption, his penis, his father’s reaction to his penis, none of it or all of the above.

2. Does anyone else think that we’ll reach peak Adele in the next five weeks, or is her likability bulletproof?

3. A rousing game of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” featuring: the members of Earth Wind and Fire; One Direction minus Zayn; One Direction plus Zayn; the judges on “The Voice;” the current infield of your family’s baseball team of choice.

4. See if anyone wants you to explain Twitter to them.

4a. Once you’ve done that, please open the floor to discuss why renowned and intelligent art critic Jerry Saltz is so extra on that social media platform.

5. Pick one relative to explain Drake’s appeal/non-appeal. Challenge yourself by articulating what memes are without cringing in embarrassment or quietly combusting and turning into a pile of ash.

6. What’s the deal with _______?

7. Help your newly-single and very-recently-out uncle learn the nuances of Grindr.

8. If there’s someone in your group who really can’t help themselves, instead of ranting till the point of exhaustion about why Donald Trump blows, gather the family ’round to think of different disparaging names to refer to him based on his appearance. I am fond of “sentient merkin” and “walking squirrel pelt.”

9. Don’t talk to each other; instead watch television, or, barring that, quietly read after dinner. Nothing goes better with a second dinner than like, three Baby-Sitters Club books that you found in the basement.

10. Which Kardashian could you actually be friends with? Like, real and true and actual friends?

11. Will Kim name her new baby West, or will she name it South ,or ugh, oh god?

12. Discuss fantasy football with your next door neighbor. Advise him against both Draft Kings and Fan Duel, but then spend a good hour or so smoking cigarettes with him on the porch and helping him with his lineups.

13. Is Aunt Carol going to ever move back from Alaska and get a real job, because she honestly cannot can salmon and grow weed on the side for the rest of her life, I mean, really.

14. Take an hour to patiently explain what your job is to your mother, who understands that it involves the computer, but isn’t quite sure what the rest of it is.

15. Talk to your family about anything else. Just not politics. Or religion. Trust.