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News / Harmless Fun

12 topics to avoid at the Thanksgiving dinner table

Don't be a turkey! Avoid these 12 topics a the dinner table.
Photograph: Vicki DeLoach/Flickr Don't be a turkey! Avoid these 12 topics a the dinner table.

Holiday gatherings can be a challenge for any family or group of friends. Inevitably, folks who don't normally mix and mingle will wind up passing casserole dishes to one another. To keep the food on your plates and not flying in the air, here's a cheat sheet of hot button topics to avoid this holiday season: 

1. Donald Trump, or anything related to Donald Trump. This includes all politics, reality television and men's toupees. Donning Ivanka Trump pumps is okay for Thanksgiving, just sartorially ill-advised. 

2. Food preferences. This is the kind of thing a Thanksgiving host deserves to know in advance. If you failed to mention a gluten allergy or vegan diet beforehand, that's on you. Zip it and make your plate look like you enjoyed something. 

3. Your SF rent. It's either controversially high or enviably low. Either way, someone else at the table is going to feel weird about it. 

4. San Francisco values. Don't try to challenge Uncle Earl by dropping the phrase "cis-gendered" over Thanksgiving dinner. Now is not the time to shock the straight-laced folks with your progressive terminology or ideology. 

5. Cars vs. bikes. This is so much more than a political issue in San Francisco. To many, it's a defining lifestyle choice. Do not open the "Idaho Stop" can of worms. 

6. Your fitness regimen. The last thing anyone needs to hear before shoving a forkful of stuffing in their mouth how many push-ups you do every day at 5am. 

7. Gentrification. Just don't go there. Not on Thanksgiving. 

8. Cell phones at the table. Some people are fine with this, some hate it. Both have valid points. On Thanksgiving, someone's weird cousin will spend all of dinner on Periscope and someone's mom will capture a family moment that becomes a framable heirloom. If you want your phone close by, keep it in a pocket or on your lap.

9. Spoilers. Not all of us have finished the binge-watching the latest television craze. Before you reveal which character was killed off, warn the room. 

10. Potty humor. This should go without saying, but it won't. If you are over eight years of age, any time of reference to farting or "blowing up the can" after the meal is inappropriate. 

11. Health issues. Aunt Edith's new friend Dr. Ron doesn't need to see that weird thing on your knee. Nor do any of us need the gory details of Grandpa's recent colonoscopy. If it belongs on WebMD, it doesn't belong at dinner. 

12. Drunken toasts. If you've had more than three glasses of wine, you are not giving the Thanksgiving toast. Nope. Sorry. Thank you. Sit down.