‘Always gets a little heated:’ Tips for avoiding politics at the Thanksgiving table this year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — For all the happy memories and joy that can come out of the holidays, so too can come conflict… Especially when it comes to politics around the Thanksgiving table.

But there are some strategies that can help keep yourself and the others around you from going down the political rabbit hole this holiday season.


Clay County resident Jolie Delossantos told Action News Jax there’s one topic in particular she hopes to avoid this holiday season.

“Probably like anything Presidential-wise. The election anything is just like a touchy topic for anyone I assume. Especially now-a-days,” said Delossantos.

Aiden Rodgers from Duval County gave us the same answer.

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“Who is gonna be the next President. Always gets a little heated and is almost never right,” said Rodger.

UNF political science professor Sean Freeder, who specializes in depolarization, said Presidential election talk can open a can of worms into just about every touchy political issue of the day.

“Israel-Palestine, we’ve seen an enormous amount of discord over that, abortion continues to be a major issue along those lines, same thing with immigration,” said Freeder.

And Freeder noted polarization actually has a measurable impact on the quality of Thanksgiving meals.

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“Cross partisan Thanksgiving dinners end earlier because people have a harder time being around each other,” said Freeder.

So, what can you do to keep the holidays a nonpartisan safe-zone?

Well, if you’re the one who wants to talk politics, psychologist Dr. Lynn Wadelton with First Coast Therapy Group argued it’s important to remember what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about in the first place.

“You’re not at Thanksgiving to make people uncomfortable. These are your friends and family. You are there for them, not for your own agenda,” said Wadelton.

For those who are looking for advice on how to divert away from politics should they come up, Wadelton recommended changing the subject or responding with humor.

“You can even say, oh I know your position. I’ve seen you put it on Facebook,” said Wadelton.

And Wadelton said enlisting a partner to keep you in check can help keep you from talking politics.

Freeder added, if you really can’t help yourself… At least save to political conversation for after the meal.

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