This might hurt my mother’s feelings, but I can live without the creamed onions and the sweet potatoes covered with melted marshmallows. Despite their stubborn presence at our annual gathering, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
By Jamie Forbes, National Center for Family Philanthropy
It’s all about the things that I love: family, food, appreciation and giving.
Of course, it’s also a holiday that some people dread. Maybe it’s because of a long-stewing family feud, different parenting styles or some other dysfunction (insert your family’s recurring hot buttons here). Whether you truly enjoy the gathering, or you have to put on a happy face just to get through it, here are some ways to keep the conversation from shifting into the dangerous death-spiral that sends everyone home wondering why they showed up. These are some things you can ask everyone around the table to share.
What was your:
- Funniest moment of the year
- Happiest experience this year
- Proudest moment of the year
- Cause or issue you care deeply about and why
These ideas are usually pretty safe because they avoid politics and some other categories that set people off. They are also topics that don’t require lots of time, so even larger gatherings can make it all the way around the table before losing interest. One of the other – perhaps less obvious – benefits of sharing a question around the table is that it gives everyone a chance to speak. Going around the table requires everyone else to listen, and it provides an opportunity to learn something new about everyone gathered.