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How to maneuver around taboo topics at the Thanksgiving table

Some families are setting boundaries
Posted at 11:24 AM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 11:24:24-05

JUPITER, Fla.  — In a normal year, taboo topics tend to be politics, money, and religion, but in 2020, people seem to talk about them everyday, plus add in health. Now, some families are saying no way, no how.

“This holiday season is the season of boundaries for my family,” said Holly Meyer Lucas, a mom who lives in Jupiter.

Meyer Lucas said her strategy is setting hard expectations.

“There are a lot of opinions that are all valid, and I don’t want them hashed out at my dinner table,” she laughed. “Like we can spend another time having that discussion, but we are setting boundaries heavily for everyone’s sake.”

Parool Desai, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said prep yourself before getting together and find ways to maneuver around hot button topics.

“If the host can kind of say, no politics, no religion, especially this year,” she said.

Meyer Lucas said that’s what she is doing.

“The election specifically. We have set the boundary that the election won’t be discussed one way or another,” she said. “Also COVID protocols, we are not going to be discussing those either.”

So what can you talk about? Experts suggest putting out conversation starters. Go around and talk about what you are thankful for, the best and worst things to happen this year.

“Sports, weather, a lot of people have new hobbies this year because of COVID,” said Desai. “A lot of DIY projects, a lot of new renovations going on. There is so much to talk about and how people are coping through.”

She said remember ultimately that it is Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude, a time to give thanks.

“I think because you are finally getting together with your family and friends, that there can be a more uplifting conversation,” said Desai.

And if you can’t hold back, she suggested leaving it until the end.

“If it is closer to dessert and coffee, then people that don’t want to be involved can separate in a different room, or maybe even exit and start to leave,” she said.

“The boundaries I am setting are mostly for our children, because I think my kids have overheard so much this year,” said Meyer Lucas.