Take a moment during the start of your holiday festivities to stop doing and just notice what is happening all around you. Watch your family as an observer; what do you see? When we stop scurrying around in host (or guest) mode, we can absorb our blessings: family, friends, a nice home, good food, our health, a break from work, laughter and more. When you stop to pay attention, we enjoy the holidays more fully and create vivid memories. 

It goes without saying, something most Americans are NOT thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday is the state of the country’s political discourse, with 86 percent of the public having a negative view of it according to recent national polls. More than half of Americans who say they celebrate Thanksgiving are dreading talking about politics at their Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s a tip, pass the sweet potatoes, hold the politics. 

During the season of “thanks,” when many are focusing on their blessings, it is tough; Thanksgiving is a time for family. It’s the one time every year that you get to eat grandma’s famous stuffing, see your cousins, the one time when three platefuls of food is actually a reasonable amount.

But many Americans are apprehensive about Thanksgiving. The polarizing politics divides, especially in our friendships and families. It’s easy to avoid people who don’t share the same political beliefs, except when it’s the holiday season, and those people are family members.

What if you don’t want to talk politics with Uncle Bill? What if you’re worried about the opposing views of Aunt Judy and Grandpa Mike? How do you avoid turning a family atmosphere into a hostile one? 

Work out a ‘keep the peace’ game plan. After all, these aren’t strangers. They’re family. You know who might bring up the election, or whose political views you don’t agree with. So prepare. It also wouldn’t hurt to have another debate topic, like a new baby, pending wedding, or graduation. 

If talking about politics always leads to a screaming match or hurt feelings, then avoid it. Don’t talk about it. Set some ground rules. If talking about the election is unavoidable, then set a time and place. The backyard is fair game. So is the living room, but not the dinner table?  Take a moment to be thankful. 

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!