Robert Crohan/Staff Writer
It’s that time of year once again!
While Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday not predominantly for the food — well okay, that might be a lie — I really enjoy having fun conversations with my family to conclude another year of twists and turns, wins and losses.
But given just how utterly contentious this year has been (and the elections in particular), many are dreading what’s to come on this day. After all, for many, it can feel like there is very little to be thankful for in 2020.
Many families are split more so than ever in this heated political environment. But there is hope, as you can make this Thanksgiving a memorable and stress-free day of solace, a day free from MAGA and Build Back Better.
Conversations are inevitable, unless it is typical for your family to eat in silence. Try to keep the focus on things not related to politics, be they school, friendships, jobs, pets or hobbies. If you feel comfortable, think back to any big accomplishments of the year. Or perhaps you can mention what you hope to achieve next year.
If an uncomfortable topic comes up, try to link it to something else. For example, if the election controversies are debated, say that it reminds you of how long your professor took to grade your midterm exam!
Additionally, boundaries can be ingrained from the beginning: before eating, have the head of the family say that although opinions are welcomed, we can all agree to disagree and should leave contentious topics out of the day, or something similar. Any dissent should probably be calmly addressed and not angrily repressed, as this only pours gas on the fire, in my experience.
It can be very difficult to restrain yourself when politics are brought up — I know from experience. But try to tell yourself that you will have other opportunities to debate issues and make your stance known and understood. It is not worth ruining one of the few saving graces of 2020.
The annual Thanksgiving specials, such as the Purina Dog Show and Parade, can distract everyone from Trump and Biden’s antics. Maybe Snoopy can help, too!
Perhaps going further, you can simply argue that the day is intended to be a politics-free one, because it is for being thankful for what we or others have. If you voted for Biden, you are probably thankful for his win, while if you voted for Trump, you are probably thankful for a GOP gain in Congressional seats. But this can be followed up on later. There are 364 other days of the year to argue and get angry, but this moment calls for maximizing fun (and our stomachs!).
If things get out of your control, do not hesitate to request to be excused from the table and take a mental health break. On a day that is supposed to be relaxing and strengthening family bonds, your mind must be at rest, so try to address any responsibilities beforehand and focus on the moment. If you are getting overwhelmed, there is no shame at all in needing to step aside and take a breather.
Everyone celebrates the turkey day differently, and no matter how you do it, there can always be a way to make everyone’s experience better. In 2020, a day like this is much needed, so help yourself and your family throw out the politics. As they say in New York, fugetaboutit.
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