We all know that these are controversial times in America. There are so many things to disagree over that sometimes it seems there is nothing to agree on. We see it everywhere we turn. On social media there is constant expression of people’s opinions. Around the water cooler co-workers are going at it over the election result. It can be depressing and quite overwhelming. Oh how I long for the days where our heated discussions were the Kardashians’ latest scandal or our disbelief at the Jolie-Pitt split. I believe that we are all long overdue for some fun lighthearted discussions. So, to keep your family gathering merry and bright, here are a few topics you may want to stay away from this Christmas.
1. Hold Up ‘Weight” a Minute
The topic of weight is taboo for most at any time. Unfortunately in family settings people can forget basic manners. It is never okay to tell someone “Hey, you’ve put on a few.” I find it baffling how many times I hear people say things like this at holiday gatherings. I mean if we think about the setting, we are at a function designed to consume endless amounts of food, and people really think now is a good time to tell you you’re getting FAT?! Even if someone has lost a great deal of weight, bringing it up at a family function is not always welcome. Losing weight is hard work, and maybe they want a break from thinking about it as they load their plate with ham, potatoes, and carbs. Yes, all the carbs. People come together to eat and enjoy themselves. We should probably leave someone’s weight on the do not discuss list.
2. Children’s Behavior
This is a hard one. When you get together with family, you are likely to encounter an unruly child are two (Lord please don’t let it be mine). Let’s face it, kids are on their holiday break hopped up on sugar and reveling in the excitement of PRESENTS. Sometimes we will have to deal with some not so pleasant behavior. The Christmas table is not the place to discuss how out of hand a loved one’s child is. Most of the time people are aware that their kids are getting on people’s nerves long before anyone tells them. Pointing out the issue would probably do more harm than good. If you are hosting the gathering this year, you may want to plan ahead by moving important breakables. Bottom line don’t stress; you will survive this one dinner.
Talking about financial woes or triumphs is just not a good idea in a social setting. When people complain about their money troubles it really is a Debbie Downer. The same can go for when a person “brags” about how well they are doing. People probably aren’t that interested in the details of your bank account. Think about how your wonderful financial year may make a less fortunate family member feel. Furthermore, we have endured a pretty rough year here in Baton Rouge. Flood victims more than likely wish to avoid thinking or speaking about finances. Not to mention money talk can make people feel uncomfortable in general.
Don’t. Just don’t bring them up period. Exes should be on the do not discuss list for all social gatherings. Asking your relative about their ex makes them and everyone else in the room uncomfortable. Think of it this way. The relative is no longer with the ex, which means they probably don’t know how they are or what is going on in their life. When people break up it is rarely a happy situation. Bringing up the topic around the holidays is just a no-no. If the person has moved on the topic will also affect their new partner. Who wants to be the new wife or boyfriend hearing about how much you all loved the ex? On this note please stop leaving up pictures of other people and their exes in your homes.
This is the topic that 2016 won’t let die. I have seen more relationships fall apart over it this year. This election season has caused many people to become informed and start dialoguing about political themes. As a political scientist that excites me, but as a human being it has hurt my heart to see the division it has caused. People get rude and downright mean in their discussions. We all need a time out! I implore you to avoid this topic like the plague this year. Please refrain from giving everyone your opinion on this matter. For this one day, it will be healthy for everyone to sit on the same side of the issue by agreeing to just not talk about it. You will thank yourself later and so will your family.
Christmas is the season of love and giving. This year give your family the gift of peace and declare your Christmas table a safe zone. There is no need to disrupt your precious family time with these topics.