Turkey Day. The day that’s overshadowed by Christmas and Black Friday. A day of feasting, rejoicing, and awkward family reunions.
Thanksgiving is an awkward time spent with relatives with diverse political and religious views. Fortunately, I don’t mind the occasional political tussle, just as long as it is done respectfully. But quite frankly, I tire from constant political harping that is based solely on winning the argument and not persuading the individual. Politics does not have to be interjected into every social event you attend and it should not be the basis of destroying family functions.
This year, slightly more than half the nation is happy, and the other part is unhappy. Chances are you have at least one member of your family in either political camp. So you might ask, how do you keep the peace this Turkey Day? Here are some of my suggestions.
Smile and be gracious.
Sure, your Tea Party Uncle or MoveOn.org Sister might be beligerent, but choose not to give in to them. As Proverbs 15 would counsel, a gentle answer will turn away wrath while a harsh reply stirs up anger. Ignore the comment and try to move on.
Change the subject.
Whenever the awkward subject comes up, flip the conversation to a different topic. Don’t take the political bait that is offered at the table. Use the excuse “It’s Thanksgiving, let’s talk about something else.” Sports, hobbies, and movies might be better areas to find common ground.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, it might be better to just say no. Say no to the political banter right at the start. Take changing the subject to the next level and have the courage to say no to the nonsense. Declare a truce for the feast beforehand, and talk about other things. Politics is important. But it’s not more important than losing a family member to an argument. It’s OK to cede the battle in order to maintain a relationship with your family member.
Yes, humans are political animals and some are more political than others. Yet, we must also remember that the other political camp is still comprised of people with the image of God implanted on them. They are people who God loves, even if they want a larger or smaller state. I might have my strong political opinions, but I don’t want to jeopardize family bonds over them. Don’t win the argument and lose the person.
Hope this helps! Have a turkey-filled day of giving thanks.
(For a headstart on Christmas discussions, check out Dave Ramsey’s blog on 5 Questions to Ask Before Christmas)