From The Nest - How to keep conversation at the Christmas (Thanksgiving) dinner table civil. And boring, imho.
We get it: You haven’t seen these people in months and you’re dying to share your views on everything from your tanking 401(k) to your cousins’ expanding waistlines, but keep the controversial talk to a minimum. Check out these eight topics to avoid at the dinner table -- you can thank us later.
Think you'll crack everyone up with a story about how your husband went all Man vs. Wild, which resulted in a nasty, burning rash in unmentionable places? Stop. No one wants to hear about any kind of bodily ailments while they're eating -- especially your husband’s mom.
Your cousin and his wife know they’re a bit overweight. There’s no need for someone to casually drop hints about how Jessica Alba lost all that baby weight so quickly when they go in for that second helping of pumpkin pie. And, please, steer clear of your balding Uncle Bob who worked so hard to buy that Corvette -- he doesn’t want to be asked if he’s “compensating for something.”
Keeping the Past Alive
You know that saying, “We’ll look back on this and laugh someday”? Well, not so fast. Your cousin Bill probably doesn’t want to be reminded of his drunken date who broke your great-grandma’s gravy boat last year. Some things are better left in the past. Don’t rehash embarrassing or painful events for lack of anything better to talk about.
Ixnay on the Exnay
We’re all packin’ excess baggage from relationships past, but for just one night, don’t ask your brother what happened to that really nice girl he met in college when his fiancee is passing you the green bean casserole.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
Yeah, the economy sucks. Establishing Junior's college fund may seem like an impossible dream. Your 401(k) has disappeared. You really want to wipe all those smiles off your loved ones’ faces? If the answer’s yes, you have other issues that we don’t have time to address here.
Doing the Egg Toss
Children and grandchildren are a happy topic, we agree. Nevertheless, the statement “We’re trying to get pregnant” will evoke images of the two of you going at it (just think of everyone’s red-faced stares, smirks, or grimaces, especially if teenagers are present).
Leave Your Family out of It
Have you ever hosted a dinner party? You want everything to be perfect, right? Well, so does your mother-in-law. If you notice differences between your family’s Thanksgiving hoedown and hers, don’t say a word. No one needs to hear “My mother always makes the stuffing from scratch, but I guess I’ll have to get used to a mix from a box” after slaving over a dinner for 12 for days on end.
The Safety Zone
If and when the convo hits a lull, here are our favorite ways to score big:
Funny characters at work
The delicious food
Sports (unless someone at the table is a diehard fan with a hot temper)
Apolitical movies/TV shows (prepare by catching up on Mad Men and 30 Rock)
And when all else fails: puppies!
-- Lauren Le Vine
Dec 25, 2009
Puppies? Seriously? Of course, maybe that's why my family doesn't get together for holiday dinners any more.