Thanksgiving is quite different this year. It falls during a disastrous pandemic and a uniquely tense political climate. However, a few Thanksgiving elements remain the same — the traditional food and the awkward conversations that often emerge at family gatherings.
So, whether you are able to celebrate this holiday with family or friends in person (safely, I hope) or virtually, behold — a list of Thanksgiving conversation topics to guide you into a non-awkward meal without conversation lull.
• What’s one skill that you hope to master during our renewed quarantine?
I am predicting that my family members will respond with “bread-baking," "bird-drawing," and "skateboarding.”
• How do you feel about going back to in-person learning during the pandemic?
This question gives a chance for young people and adults alike to let off some steam and confide in their Thanksgiving partners about this pressing dilemma.
• What film does your life today most resemble?
The varied responses may give insight to how your Thanksgiving partners are feeling. To decode their possible film choices, a Wes Anderson film may mean that they are feeling melancholic, amused, or a little charmed. If they most identify with a Spike Lee Joint production, this may mean that they are feeling tense, witty, or overheated, as in "Do the Right Thing."
• What is one hidden talent you possess that your tablemates may not be aware of?
Have you kept your double-jointed elbows a secret? Can you tie a cherry stem with your tongue? Now is the chance to impress your friends and family!
• Who do you think Banksy is?
To avoid conversation lag after this intriguing and possibly unexpected question regarding the mysterious artist, you may follow it up with asking: "Do you think Bansky is celebrating Thanksgiving at this very moment?" Or: "Could Bansky be someone at this table?"
• Do you prefer baked sweet potatoes with or without marshmallows?
If your Thanksgiving company is not a sweet potato fan, a substitute question could be: "Do you prefer pecan or pumpkin pie?"
• What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
The most predictable and heart-warming question cannot be skipped.
— Mary-Frances Ballew is a senior at Selah High School.