It’s All Gravy: How to Avoid Family Arguments at Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving with the right mindset and working to create a more positive environment can help you get through dinner - and even the pumpkin pie - unscathed.

When you think of celebrating Thanksgiving with your family, is it more Kardashian than Brady Bunch?

If your holiday gatherings tend to be fueled by drama, trust me, you’re not alone. When you take controversial topics like politics, religion, and current events, plus add in a steady flow of wine, a family argument can feel inevitable.

I get it, navigating a major holiday with family can be tough, but going into Thanksgiving with the right mindset and working to create a more positive environment can help you get through dinner – and even the pumpkin pie – unscathed.

Here are a few ways to keep your celebration on the right track this year by Avoiding Family Arguments at Thanksgiving. 

Keep People Occupied

For many families, Thanksgiving means either sitting around the TV watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and football or slaving away in the kitchen. This extra downtime means more opportunities for conversation to go awry. You might try setting up a few options for interactive fun, like offering up a group hike, divvying up the cooking responsibilities, or setting up some lawn games in the backyard.

If you prefer hanging out inside there is always plenty to watch on tv. Football, parades, holiday-themed sitcoms, and, of course, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving classic.

In our family we are always occupied; whether we are helping roll out the pie crust, setting the table, peeling potatoes, watching The National Dog Show, or entertaining all the nieces and nephews running around.

Watch The Wine

I am all for indulging in some vino during the holidays, but if your family is prone to alcohol-fueled bickering, you may want to ease up on how much you are serving this Thanksgiving. Alcohol tends to lower inhibitions, which means you aren’t filtering what you say as closely.

Opt for a glass of water or LaCroix between glasses of wine to ensure you stay level-headed throughout the day.


Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Your family members tend to get under your skin more than anyone else in your life. They know how to push your buttons, and you’re more prone to react. While there are certain issues that warrant a reaction, try not to worry about the smaller annoyances or critiques your family throws at you – you’ll be happier letting it go than stewing in it!

Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff. –Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Share Why You’re Thankful

Thanksgiving is meant to be a celebration of thankfulness, but we tend to go through the motions of the holiday without actually embracing its purpose. Focusing on the blessings in your life, and sharing these positive things with your loved ones, can help to shift the narrative away from family conflict.

Try suggesting that everyone go around the table and list a few things they are thankful for this year. This can remind you of important milestones, hardships, and memories that you’ve shared with your family. Gratitude sparks happiness and an overall peaceful and beautiful conversation!

When I celebrate Thanksgiving with Caleb’s family we all are given a doily-turkeys and we write our names and what we are thankful for. They get shuffled and passed around and everyone shares.

I’m so thankful for so many things; my health, family, friends, husband, talents, career, my sweet dogs, and more! I take the time to count my blessings several times a week, not just on Thanksgiving. What about you?


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