May 23, 2024

Avoid family Thanksgiving chaos: Choose unifying dinner topics

Written By Kevin Fobbs and Susan Swift | Nov 20, 2021 | Courtesy of CommDigiNewsfamily Thanksgiving chaos, dinner topics

Avoid Thanksgiving dinner topics that will not unify the holiday spirit – Photo credit: Susan Swift

WASHINGTON — Let’s face it. Thanksgiving is the most stressful meal of the year. In many households, the guys are screaming at the TV during football. Some aunts and moms are drinking wine and burning the turkey. Far too many teens are arguing about video games and Tik Tok videos. And more than a few little kids happily overfeed the family dog. So how can you minimize more of this potential family Thanksgiving chaos? Here are some ideas for an Uncanceled Thanksgiving list of safe and productive dinner topics.

Evading family Thanksgiving chaos: Avoid certain dinner topics at the Thanksgiving table?

Of course, there are always one or two Thanksgiving guests who will come fully armed with an arsenal of gotcha topics. You know the type. They claim they want to “spice up the discussion” by selecting a few conversation starters. Topics you (and they) know will instantly ignite ongoing family Thanksgiving chaos.

You, not wanting to be a spoil-sport, acquiesce to that boorish relative’s suggestion. Then they delay that bite of turkey and stuffing to let their political fangs come out, watching to see if everyone’s head spontaneously explodes in Thanksgiving rage.

Specific 2021 arguments to avoid in this year’s list of Thanksgiving dinner topics

  1. If You’re Vaccinated, Why Do You Wear a Mask and Why Are You Forcing Me to Get the Shot?
  2. CRT v. KKK: Who’s more racist?
  3. Abortion as proof of Systemic Racism by Democrats.
  4. Why do Leftist defend slogans like “F*** Trump” as political free speech but smear “Let’s Go Brandon” as vulgar and harmful to kids?
  5. Why is Rittenhouse an example of systemic racism, when Kyle Rittenhouse shot a pedophile rapist, a burglar, and a wife beater in self-defense.

Uncanceling Thanksgiving Dinner Topics that really matter

Thanksgiving remains America’s unique celebration of God’s gift of life and freedom to mankind. It recalls the banquet feast of the Last Supper when Christ gave thanks to God with His disciples. Breaking bread together constitutes a unifying action signifying peace. Jesus Christ did not cancel Judas, but rather embraced him. He even dipped his hand in the same bowl at the Last Supper, knowing all the while that Judas would betray Him.

Philippians 4: 5-6: “Let your gentleness be apparent to all. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Avoid verbal combat this year

Instead of waging verbal combat at the Thanksgiving dinner, avoid that standard-issue family Thanksgiving chaos at this year’s table. Let your guest or guests know that Thanksgiving is a time to unite as Americans and celebrate our common bonds. It should not be a time to participate in a Woke Cancel Culture Texas Cage Match. Request that if they want to bring up topics to share, they should provide their ideas ahead of time. Ask them to reflect on why we are eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and baking pumpkin or sweet potato pie in the first place. Get away from family Thanksgiving chaos by refocusing on classic, unifying extended-family dinner topics. Topics that most guests share in common.

Sharing memorable stories about food dishes mama used to make can be one way to diffuse a Cancel Culture conflict. Or talk about why Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday. There are many historical events and anecdotes that explain Americans’ love for this holiday. Giving thanks and sharing positive examples from one’s own experiences may also help influence behavior after Thanksgiving for individuals and families.

Gratitude to God for safe arrival in the new world

Contrary to popular belief, the actual first American Thanksgiving event, occurred in Virginia – not Plymouth, Massachusetts. Events unfolded on December 4, 1619. Then, after ten weeks at sea, thirty-eight English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, about 20 miles upstream from Jamestowne. On that day, Captain John Woodleaf held the first service of Thanksgiving, as was ordered by the Charter of Berkeley Hundred, their official charter. The newly-landed settlers fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival.

The Charter of Berkeley Hundred stated,

“We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Thus, the first Colonial Thanksgiving was held a year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth and two years before the fabled New England feast.

First Unifying American Thanksgiving Celebration was between the Wampanoags Tribe and the Pilgrims

Why is Thanksgiving the quintessential American Feast?  According to U.S. History,

“It was Massasoit, the chief of the nearby Wampanoags Native American tribe that kept the Plymouth Pilgrims from starvation. In addition, Squanto, a local Indian who had been kidnapped and taken to England nearly a decade before, served as an interpreter with the local tribes. He taught the Pilgrims to fertilize the soil with dried fish remains to produce a stellar corn crop. Chief Massasoit supplemented the food supply of the Pilgrims for the first few years.

“The Wampanoags Native American tribe did not just talk about helping or wishing they could do something to help the Pilgrims. Therefore, Thanksgiving 1621, was not about giving thanks for a job, medical help or a good education one received.  It was centered on thanks in the giving and thanks in the receiving.  God’s presence at the Thanksgiving dinner table in 1621 was acknowledged. It was a unifying Thanksgiving celebration.”

The Real Lesson of 1621

When one considers the commandments of God and tie them to the first true celebration of a nation that would become a Melting Pot, 1621 embodies America’s Thanksgiving. Instead of being an order contained within an official charter, the event’s participants shared and celebrated God’s Word. According to History, “While the 1621 event may not have been called Thanksgiving, the sentiment was certainly present in that historic celebration, just as it would play a defining role in how the tradition developed over the centuries to come.

“Giving thanks is really an important part of both cultures,” stated Tom Begley, the executive liaison for administration, research and special projects at Plimoth Plantation.  “For the English, before and after every meal there was a prayer of thanksgiving. For something on this scale, celebrating a successful harvest, there definitely would have been moments of giving thanks to their God.”

History also stressed,

“For the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving, giving thanks was a daily part of life. Linda Coombs, the former associate director of the Wampanoag program at Plimoth Plantation, told the Christian Science Monitor. ‘We as native people [traditionally] have thanksgivings as a daily, ongoing thing.’”

Why God and Jesus Christ must be present at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

The Empire State Tribune asks the question about the  American Melting Pot vs The Body of Christ: Multiplicity in the American Church. It states, “Unity, not homogeneity. The metaphor of the Body of Christ demonstrates that significant differences are not an obstacle to be overcome—or to be “melted together”—but a deliberate feature of the design.  The Pilgrims Christian outreach in the sharing of thanksgiving was an effective tool of the word of God.  It was not conduct mandated by a Charter, but instead by the Holy Spirit of God.

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, a former Oxford Professor, Christian apologist, and famous lay theologian wrote Mere Christianity. It still numbers among the 5 best apologetics for the Christian faith. “While his children’s books The Chronicles of Narnia continue to teach the Christian faith in a powerful way, it is his unique comparative analysis of God’s word and man’s acceptance that is rewarding. C.S.Lewis describes why  Christian messaging unity is analogous to God’s unifying Thanksgiving’s celebration by the Pilgrims.

C.S Lewis caught a glimpse of how this vision of harmonious diversity might manifest in its final reality. The communion of saints, he argues, bursts with the vibrancy of diverse characters:

If all saints experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the songs of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.” 

C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim Thanksgiving celebration was the beginning of a truly harmonious diversity of God’s word being shared and demonstrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags tribe.

Considering the Word of God as applied in the first unifying Thanksgiving celebration feast

Here are a few unifying Thanksgiving dinner topics you can present to your guests. Each can help avoid triggering that dreaded annual family Thanksgiving chaos. Ask each guest to share a favorite Thanksgiving story that tells how God influenced them in a Thanksgiving act of kindness.

  • Why do Christians “give thanks?”
  • What is a Thanksgiving act you are thankful for doing or receiving?
  • Story of the pilgrims and the Indians and how our public schools are purposefully eliminating the central character in the entire Thanksgiving Day Feast (no, it’s not the turkey)
  • Give thanks to Who? GOD!

Make Thanksgiving Great Again

Go back to our roots. Give thanks to God. Go to church on Thanksgiving Day. Ask God to guide you to help others as the Wampanoags tribe did for the Pilgrims. Give thanks to God for America, for its founding, for its constitution, for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Give thanks as well for William Bradford’s great 1623 experiment of private ownership and incentives. Above all, rededicate yourself and your household to honoring the Creator in deed as well as word. Likewise, rededicate yourself to defending these God-given individual rights for others as well as for yourself.

Finally, before guests leave the Thanksgiving dinner table and the year’s dinner topics behind to watch football or enjoy dessert, do this. Ask each person to affirm a goal for next years’ celebration. How will you, and your family become true Thanksgiving vessels for God’s grace in the coming year? Examples for assisting others can include your family, neighbors, law enforcement, homeless, or those in need.

God’s Thanksgiving message should extend beyond gratitude for the right to own land and the right to create independent wealth. His message is greater than having the right to create freedom from want and oppression. He calls on us to extend these blessings to others and to teach them about liberty. We should help others learn from the Wampanoags tribe the way to guarantee survival for the “least of us.” In doing so on this and every Thanksgiving, we can discover how to share thanks for giving the “least of us” access to freedom from want as true children of God.

A closing thought from C.S. Lewis

As C.S. Lewis reminds us, at the Thanksgiving table let us appreciate our diverse viewpoints. But let us not separate ourselves from our God.  Lewis writes:

“Aristotle has told us that a city is a unity of unlikes, and St. Paul that a body is a unity of different members. Heaven is a city, and a Body because the blessed remain eternally different.”

So, this year, avoid family Thanksgiving chaos. Choose your Thanksgiving topics wisely. In so doing, you may end up helping a future Pilgrim.


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About the authors:

Kevin Fobbs began writing professionally in 1975. He has been published in the “New York Times” and has written for the “Detroit News,” “Michigan Chronicle,” “GOPUSA,” “Soul Source,” and “Writers Digest” magazines. In addition to the Ann Arbor and Cleveland “Examiner,” “Free Patriot,” “Conservatives4 Palin,” and “Positively Republican.” The former daily host of The Kevin Fobbs Show on conservative News Talk WDTK – 1400 AM in Detroit is also a published author. In addition, his Christian children’s book, “Is There a Lion in My Kitchen,” hit bookstores in 2014.

California PolitiChick Susan Swift Arnall is a lawyer, wife, and conservative mother of seven children. Since her impassioned call into Rush Limbaugh’s radio program in 2009, Susan has given political commentary on radio and blogs and was invited in 2010 by Andrew Breitbart to write for his young website Big Journalism. She has written over 60 published articles for Breitbart.