Talking turkey could have a completely different meaning this year.
More than a few professionals caution against getting into political discussions this Thanksgiving holiday in the aftermath of a divisive election season.
Dr. Jennifer Harsh, Director of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, recommends laying some ground rules down before the annual family gathering.
“To make an announcement via email or via phone, however that family communicates, ‘Hey, this is something that we’re going to our best to avoid this year, because we’d like to have a nice dinner together.’ That can be something that can be helpful,” Harsh tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And for other families, it might just be recognizing in the moment that something’s veering off track and having a family member or two that’s very able to change the subject for the family.”
Harsh also advises limiting the lubrication for conversation.
“I know this probably isn’t a welcomed piece of advice or suggestion for some folks, but I would think about watching the amount of alcohol you drink, because if people are having difficult conversations, adding alcohol to the mix can be even more difficult,” Harsh says.
Harsh also recommends having a designated person to keep the conversation on other topics than politics.
“Prepare ahead, so in the moment you’re not taken off guard and you’re not stuck and you don’t know what to do. Having something ahead of time where you can say, ‘Hey, how about that sports team!’ or ‘How about that family member’s wedding!’ That might be a nice topic to discuss if you notice family members are interested in those topics as well.”
Karla James contributed to this story.