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Many of us are heading off next week to visit family and friends, to celebrate the countdown to Christmas by being gluttons for a day. However, this being an election year complicates Thanksgiving for the many of us whose political views are – shall we say – incompatible with those of our family members. And while most people are polite enough not to start a balls-to-the-wall political debate over the marshmallowed sweet potatoes, there’s always that one person, isn’t there? So in anticipation of this delightful, stressful time, I’ve prepared a list of possible conversation topics designed to help you avoid the political in favor of, well, something else.

The happy turkey you’ll be when you don’t have to engage in political discourse over dinner.

Disclaimer: This list is not guaranteed to prevent arguments, but it is guaranteed to confuse your opponents. In other words, misdirection: if it works on a screaming toddler, it’ll work on a belligerent adult.

  1. If anyone mentions the POTUS in general, switch the focus to Joe Biden’s teeth: how does he get them so white? Another possibility is to talk about trains coming from Scranton, because trains are a popular holiday topic with young and old alike.
  2. If anyone mentions abortion, start talking about how cute those Anne Geddes babies in pumpkins are. Have a picture available to show if possible (I’m not linking to one, I think they’re pretty damn creepy). But anyone who doesn’t stop talking politics to ooh and aah is definitely evil, and you should cut him/her out of your will. Not that you need one because the Democrats are going to give all your money away anyhow, amirite? (iamnot)
  3. If anyone mentions Obamacare, discuss in great detail your most embarrassing and/or boring medical problem; which one you should choose depends on the audience. Will she duck away in horror if you mention a rectal fissure? Will he yawn his way through your lengthy battle with eczema? If you’re perfectly healthy, you lucky bastard, just make something up. (And have an exit strategy, like pretending to choke on a turkey leg, in case your relative wants to disclose his/her own medical problem. You’re not trying to punish yourself here.)
  4. If anyone mentions gay marriage, ask who his/her favorite person is from the web of insanity and hilarity that is the Petraeus affair. Personally, I like the shirtless FBI guy because he stayed anonymous the longest, and plus, he was totally joking. Also, he reminds me of that one time Mulder was on The Simpsons, and his FBI badge was him in black underwear.
  5. If anyone wants to talk about the economy, start sobbing about how you’re never going to be able to pay for that Black Friday shopping trip you have planned, but you have to go anyway because getting up early to buy a crap ton of stuff is What Thanksgiving Means to You. Then pass a hat for donations.

Here are a few extra topics, just in case anything random pops up.

  1. Ask why we don’t eat that green bean casserole with the crunchy onion things on top year-round. Go on and on about those crunchy onion things for as long as you want; really, go ahead, they are so truly delicious that even Ayn Rand would like them.
  2. Gush over how awesome that new Thanksgiving song is (it isn’t, except for that one adult in the chicken costume, which is some weird sort of genius).
  3. Insist on deciding which flavor of pie is superior. Taste-testing as many kinds as possible will be necessary to make an informed decision, so you should offer to go out and buy more. And if you take long enough at the store, the discussion will be over because everyone else is in a tryptophan-induced coma.
  4. Talk about that time you were abducted by aliens (this also reminds me of Mulder). This is almost always an effective conversation killer, and if it isn’t, then I’m rather concerned for the person you’re talking to.

If all else fails, remind yourself that these people are your family and/or friends, and you love them (you know you do). Then go get another drink, and distract yourself with this awesome picture of my pet bunny after a bender. Happy Thanksgiving!