5 Thanksgiving Dinner Table Topics That Don't Involve Politics, Religion, Or Your Ex

by: Katie Galgano
To keep holiday family quarrels and debates to a minimum, we've compiled lists of the Thanksgiving dinner table topics you should and should not talk about this year.
thanksgiving dinner table

We all know we should stay away from controversial topics at the dinner table, especially during the holidays. (Many of us learned that lesson during the election.) But, somehow they always work their way into the conversation. There’s always one family member who won’t stop talking about the latest White House memo, or trying to push his own political agenda.

More: 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

Instead of stressing about what your crazy uncle or ultra-opinionated sister will say, know how to navigate Thanksgiving dinner table topics like a pro.

To keep family quarrels and debates to a minimum, here are the topics you should avoid at all costs:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Family drama and gossip
  • Exes
  • Gun Control
  • Abortion
  • Dietary preferences
  • Other's lifestyle choices

Instead, try to keep the dinner table conversation light and positive, especially if there are kids at the table. The conversation doesn’t need to be overly intellectual or thought-provoking, it simply has to keep your guests entertained and keep confrontations to a minimum.

Here are some ideas and inspiration for appropriate Thanksgiving dinner table topics that will get the whole family talking:

Entertainment

Find out which Netflix series your family members have been binging. Discuss possible fan theories, cliffhangers, the latest episode and more. If there are kids at the table, be sure to leave anything racy out of the conversation.

Read any good books lately? Tell your family members about them and ask for any recommendations they may have.

If your family is full of music lovers, ask everyone to name their favorite album of all time and why they love it.

Movie buffs? Ask each person to name their favorite movie of the year. Or try playing the movie game. The person with the soonest birthday starts off by naming a movie. The person next to them must name an actor or actress in that movie. The person after them must name a different movie that actor or actress has been in. Continue the play clockwise. Three wrong answers and you’re out!

It’s even okay to discuss celebrity gossip, especially if it will take the focus off your own family drama!

For more tips on getting the family talking this Thanksgiving, follow FamilyEducation on Pinterest:

Travel

Did your grandparents just get back from a cruise? Or is your cousin planning to study abroad next semester? Ask them about their travels. My favorite question to ask somehow about their recent trip? “What was the best thing you ate?”

More: 11 Awesome Thanksgiving Activities for You and Your Family

Health & Wellness

Keep it lighthearted. No one wants to be reminded of their their family members’ debilitating health struggles. And we definitely don’t want to hear about the TMI-inducing details of their conditions during dinner. But, it can be a great time to talk about new health trends, diets, and exercise fads. You never know, your high-stress corporate uncle might be a secret yogi!

Food

You usually can’t go wrong when talking about food. Although it may not be the best time to tell your grandmother, who just spent hours in the kitchen preparing the turkey, that you are a vegetarian. However, it is a great opportunity to compliment the chef and ask about the history of any family recipes or food traditions.

Gratitude

This is a popular family tradition that always helps to ease the tension. Go around the table and ask each person to name one thing they are grateful for this year. Get the kids involved in this one. It’s a great way to teach kids about gratitude and the values and meaning behind the holiday. Plus, they are bound to blurt out some adorable answers that will have the whole table saying “awww.”

For more lessons on gratitude, download our free Napkin Ring Craft for kids: