Thanksgiving Dinner

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.