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6 Ways to Survive & Enjoy Thanksgiving Get-Togethers

From a traditional three-course dinner to your less formal potluck “Friendsgiving” soiree, everyone deserves to enjoy Thanksgiving with people they love. However, with mounting political and societal wars raging, keeping the peace at the dinner table can be challenging. And Thanksgiving is not the time to confront family members, mull over disagreements, or air out grievances.

While our society continues to contend with divisiveness in several facets, Merry Maids® wants to help you and all your dinner guests avoid a tumultuous turkey day with these six tips for surviving and enjoying Thanksgiving.

1. Keep Conversation Light

It never fails: One minute, your favorite aunt is talking about her newest grandchild, and all of a sudden, the topic shifts to another family member’s unamiable divorce. Airing dirty laundry at Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the norm, as it can make others uncomfortable and create turmoil within the family. The lighter, the better when it comes to dinner conversation. Steering discussion away from heavy or contentious topics will always help keep your Thanksgiving pleasant.

2. Avoid Informal Therapy Sessions

Family therapy can be both beneficial and healing for everyone—in the proper context. Thanksgiving is most certainly not the appropriate setting to go down the rabbit hole of family conflict. Colorado licensed marriage and family therapist Christian Billington suggests that if individuals participate in family counseling, the focus should be on discussing and identifying triggers and developing an “exit strategy” for get-togethers beforehand. Suppose some loved ones continue to try to redirect the conversation back to an off-limits topic. In that case, you have the right to remove yourself from the situation or ask the family member to respect your boundaries.

3. Focus on Why You’re Together

Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful for good food, fortune, friends and family. Still, it can be difficult to direct attention away from family members who want to talk about global issues that can surely bring down the evening’s mood. When subjects become polarizing, go around the table and ask people what they’re thankful for. Refocus everyone’s thoughts on the reason for the season to reduce potential arguments and hurt feelings. This technique works during special occasion dinners and can also be useful for weekday dinners with the family.

4. Pick Your Battles (Before Dinner)

The adage “pick your battles” rings true when you’re faced with family members insisting on regaling you (or other guests) with their personal and political ideologies. If you know those loved ones apt to start a controversial conversation, decide whether it’s worth giving your energy to address their views or simply letting it go. To keep the peace, try to air on the side of non-confrontation to ensure other guests don’t start feeling uncomfortable with the unfolding situation. However, if there’s a subject you just can’t let go unaddressed, discuss it constructively so that no further issues arise.

5. Disengage If Necessary

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with removing yourself mentally or physically from the onset of a heated discussion. Thanksgiving dinner shouldn’t be a political debate stage or the soapbox where people weigh the pros and cons of the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations for unvaccinated individuals. Instead of retorting with your own views and beliefs, politely excuse yourself and disengage from the situation. Saying something like, “While I disagree with your views, I can see where you’re coming from, but I’d rather not discuss this tonight. Let’s enjoy the rest of dinner without broad topics like this.” You deserve to have a fun and relaxing evening with loved ones making positive memories that will last for years.

6. Serve Mocktails and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

There’s a good chance that everyone has attended at least one get-together where a party-goer indulges a little too much and is in the middle of an acapella version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” or an emotional outburst over a breakup that happened years ago. As uncomfortable as the scene may be, it indicates the power of alcohol and the ability to release inhibitions or lash out while under the influence. A 2017 study found that over 29% of participants reported feelings of aggression while drinking spirits. To help avoid conflict at the table, inform guests beforehand that non-alcoholic beverages will be served, so they can decide whether to attend your Thanksgiving dinner or send a declination gift.

Now that you have tips and tricks in your arsenal to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family, it’s time to tackle the most tedious part of the holidays: cleaning. Our team at Merry Maids is here to offer holiday cleaning services to create a welcoming and festive environment.

Call (888) 490-4227 or find your nearest location and request an estimate today!