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What not to bring up at the table.



University of Virginia


- satire

What not to bring up at the table.

A quick guide to surviving those awkward Thanksgiving discussions.

Staci McKean


By now, we're all dreaming of turkey, stuffing, and that fountain of gravy we're going to be pouring over our mountain of mashed potatoes. Thanksgiving is, and while that means we'll be stuffing ourselves with our favorite holiday meals, it also means we'll inevitably be dragged into those cringe-worthy table discussions.

While you certainly won't be able to avoid all of the awkward family discussions, here are a few things you probably shouldn't bring up so that this holiday gathering goes a little bit smoother.

1. Your grades.
Of course, your extended family will be all too excited to learn about what your college experience is like, and how your classes are going. There's no way you can disappoint dear, sweet grandma there at the head of the table by telling her you're failing your intro economics class, and just on the cusp of having a break down over that paper due in that anthropology class you just had to take.

Try instead, to make up some quick, vague response before pushing the conversation in a different direction.

If creative truth telling isn't your forte, throw them a, "Oh it's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying them," or just the simple, "They're alright."

2. Your love life.

Sure your grades are bad but at least you have something to show for it. Inevitably, one of your favorite nosey aunts will ask with their classic heteronormative attitude what "cute boy's you've been talking to." If you can barely get yourself out of bed to go to class, what makes them think you can hold an actual conversation with someone?

Let's just avoid this conversation altogether with a simple "no" as an answer. Even if you have gone out on a couple dates, you definitely aren't going to spill the details to them, not when you know it'll get discussed (much to your embarrassment) for the rest of the meal.

Grandma, please. Stop asking.

3. Your uncle's questionable cooking skills.

How does one even make soupy pumpkin pie? You know what? Never mind, don't even ask that question. Just say you're too full for desert, then pick a real one up from Costco later.

4. Politics.

It's all fun and games until one of your relatives brings up the most recent controversial political scandal. Make sure to shove your mouth full of stuffing when they bring up how "there are bad people on both sides" and that "white supremacists are just expressing their first amendment freedoms."

Oh, and let's not forget the way he kindly tries to hint at the fact that he doesn't like how "liberal" you're becoming at college.

Don't worry. Just bite your tongue, shove food in your mouth, and change the subject as soon as possible.

5. The real history of Thanksgiving.

Let's not forget this one, the most dreaded conversation of all. You're enjoying the turkey, that green bean casserole is some of the best you've ever had, and don't forget that exquisite cranberry sauce. Yet, there's something nagging at the back of your mind. You can't forget about it, and before you know it, you're shouting about how Thanksgiving is all a holiday about the destruction of entire groups of native people.

Enjoy your turkey everyone, be thankful, and remember, the only 'giving' that happened historically was small pox blankets and squared off reservation lands. So, no matter how awkward it may get, it can't be as bad as that.