Can we Change the Subject? The Top 5 Things to NOT Talk About at Holiday Gatherings

The holidays… the most enjoyable time of the year for most families. The holiday season is when we gather around our families and share stories and catch up with each other. But sometimes the topics that are brought up in conversations take a turn, resulting in embarrassment, yelling, and even crying. Here are the TOPICS NOT TO DISCUSS AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS, so you don’t end up screaming at each other like the Griswalds in the iconic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.



Now this is a given. Politics brings out the worst sides of us. Simply no one can agree between what they think is right and wrong regardless of who they are. If you are sitting at your family dinner and the classic debate between Democrat vs. Republican breaks out, do your best to shut your family up! Change the subject! Knock over your drink!  Yell, “Did anyone see the game last night?”  What usually starts as a calm conversation will inevitably result in an absurdly loud debate, which often results in door slams and sometimes even tears. Who wants to talk about sexual preferences, gun violence or abortion over the Christmas turkey? Just don’t.  Pick literally (almost) any other topic!



The topic of money and wealth is not a fun topic to talk about with anyone, especially family. The topic leads to jealousy and for people to be embarrassed of themselves if they don’t make as much as their siblings. It also can cause favoritism among families and lead to conversations where not everyone wants to speak in because everyone has different careers and jobs. Salaries or the lack thereof should be off the table.  Besides, unless someone is bumming money off of you personally, it is none of your business what kind of money anyone else has.  



Relationships are a very touchy subject whether they are in a good or bad place, always they result in some form of unnecessary embarrassment. The question of whether or not you have a significant other can cause everyone in the room to be uncomfortable.  A simple, “How’s your girlfriend doing?” can end with a weepy, “We broke up two months ago…” Just end the conversation. Nobody wants to talk about their ex, the holidays are supposed to be a happy time not a time to be sad and hung up on your ex. It is also not a time to dramatize about former members of the family.



Family should not pressure you to go into a job/school in which you have no interest. Why do we encourage kids to follow their dreams and passions if, in the end, when it’s time to pursue their future dreams, adults put pressure on kids to make decisions that they want them to make? It’s ok to encourage your children and family members reflect upon their decisions and help guide them to do what’s best for them, but it’s a stressful part of teenagers’ lives, especially Seniors because this time of year is when a lot of us are making our decisions on where we are going to school or pursuing our future.  We don’t need aunt so-and-so making us feel like our future major is wrong or that we should apply to a different school just because great uncle Bill went there.  



Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, allergies…whatever the case may be…it’s not your body, you’re not the one eating it, you should not comment on what anyone else is or is not consuming.  Barring allergies, which could result in life-threatening reactions, it could cause future mental health issues or insecurities.  These kinds of comments can lead to eating disorders or body issues.  Don’t shame your cousin for loading up their plate a second time or comment that your aunt hardly ate anything at all–it is not your place.  It’s supposed to a feast and a celebration where we bond at the table and enjoy the company, not criticize the menu choices