4 Ways to Stop Political Discourse At the Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is a time to stuff yourself full-on home cooked meals that you never get at college and be gracious of for all the things life gave you. Unfortunately, it’s also the time for know-it-all family members to ask questions that make you tick. This can be anything from invasive relationship inquiries to political commentary. 

Some may argue that political conversations are important, and I agree. However, butting heads with family during the holiday season is stress you probably want to avoid. Here are my top 4 ways to to avoid stirring the pot at the dinner table this year:


1. Blame the Hosts

Of course, you need the hosts’ permission for this one, but it’s pretty fool proof. When your uncle asks you who you voted for, simply respond “sorry, but *insert host name here* said we’re not talking about politics this year,” with a polite smile. This takes the pressure off of you, and hopefully no one will question the host’s rules.

2. Change the Subject

During the days leading up to Thanksgiving, mentally compile a list of family friendly topics. This can be small talk, upcoming events, stories from the fall semester, or even light family gossip. When anything political comes up, spin the conversation towards something more harmless. For example, when your cousin says that climate change isn’t real, mention that the weather this week has been spectacular. 

3. Smile and Nod

People who bring up politics at Thanksgiving are usually just doing it to hear themselves talk. So, let them. Let them ramble while you grin and keep your composure. Don’t give them the reaction or stimulation that they’re looking for. They’ll either wear themselves out after talking for so long or make an idiot of themselves in front of the rest of the family. Either way, you’re in the clear.

4. Avoid

Most families have just a few members who start the controversial conversation,  so just don’t engage with them. Politely say hello, but eat at the other side of the table. If you know that you have family members who feel the same way, look out for each other and make sure that you have each other’s backs in the face of THAT annoying family member. 


Thanksgiving break is a short time right before finals to forget the stress of school and enjoy time with people you love. Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid any turkey day drama so that you can make the most it!

(Photo Credits: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4)