What Conversations Should Families Avoid at Thanksgiving?

We should strive for peace and refrain from starting any conversations that could cause stress, distress, or anger for a family member or friend. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks.

A family arguing over Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, time with loved ones, and an opportunity for great memories to be made. At the Thanksgiving table, we often discuss topics we are passionate about, or we tell stories of past life experiences. Within families, normally no topic should be avoided; however, there are certain conversations that families should avoid discussing on Thanksgiving.

Rising Tensions at Thanksgiving

All families will experience tension at some point in their lives. Christian families need to know how to handle these tensions correctly with mercy, compassion, and grace. The Bible tells us we must always think before speaking (Proverbs 29:20). If a person thinks before speaking, it can help them avoid talking about topics that could cause controversy at the Thanksgiving table.

As members of a family, we should know what topics upset our different family members and avoid these topics. Christians should never engage in conversation with the purpose to stir up trouble (Proverbs 30:33). Proverbs 18:6 warns us, “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.”

Likewise, James warns us about guarding our tongues, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26). When we have conversations on Thanksgiving (or really on any day of the year), we need to exhibit respect, wisdom, and tact.

You know your family better than anyone else does, so you should have a good idea of which topics will cause arguments, strife, and anger. It is wise to avoid these topics and discuss topics that bring God glory, such as conversations rooted in kindness, love, and compassion.

To help you in thanking God, we created a 30 Days of Gratitude Prayer Guide HERE. Download and print this guide to keep with you as a reminder of God's love and promises.

1. Talking Politics at Thanksgiving

With that being said, there are several conversations that should be avoided at Thanksgiving. The first topic that you should sidestep is conversations on politics. It is not advisable to discuss political matters at the Thanksgiving table. Whether a person chooses to be a Democrat or a Republican is up to them personally.

We should not condemn those who are Democrats, nor should we condemn Republicans. Many individuals are hot-tempered about politics and just mentioning the President’s name can cause great strife. The Bible tells us to respect those in authority positions whether we personally support them or not. You might be zealous for politics; however, you must refrain from discussing politics at Thanksgiving.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God (Romans 13:1).

It will only cause strife, anger, and arguments to erupt. It is wise to not bring up any political conversation and if another family member chooses to discuss a political matter, you should politely change the subject. If the person is adamant about talking politics, simply remind them that Thanksgiving is a time for love, peace, and thankfulness. It is not a time for politics.

2. Bringing Up Weight and Body Image at Thanksgiving

Secondly, conversations surrounding weight gain or weight loss need to be avoided. Many people have gained or lost weight during the pandemic, but Thanksgiving is not a time to point out somebody’s weight. Many families have an aunt, uncle, or cousin who always comments on another person’s weight. Do not be this person to your family or friends.

A family member or a friend could be struggling with an eating disorder and a simple careless word could cause the person to experience great distress. Commenting on somebody's weight, especially if they have an eating disorder, could cause the person to sink deeper into the eating disorder.

Rather than starting a conversation based on another family member’s or friend’s weight, talk about how much you enjoy the person being there to celebrate Thanksgiving with you. Most people do not want their weight mentioned at get-togethers; thus, it is vital to refrain from discussing a person’s weight gain or weight loss.

If you would not want a person to make a comment about your weight, do not comment on somebody else’s weight gain or loss. In everything, we need to treat others the way we want to be treated.

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that (Luke 6:30-33).

3. Asking about Relationship Status or Baby Status at Thanksgiving

A third topic that needs to be avoided is conversations about each other’s relationship statuses. Nobody likes to hear the remark “Why are you not married yet?” If you are married, no one likes to hear the comment, “When are you going to have kids? By your age, I already had two!”

It is best to steer away from conversations fixated on a person’s singleness, relationship status, or pressuring a person to start their own family. Whether a person is single or married, married with kids, or without kids can all be glorifying to God (1 Corinthians 7:1-40). If a family member is single, do not talk about “finding them a good spouse.”

It could be the family member is happy being single or it could be the individual is simply not ready for a relationship right now. If a person is married without kids, it could be your family member and their spouse are not ready to have kids or it could be the couple cannot have children of their own. 

Bringing up topics such as “when are you going to have kids” could cause a couple suffering from infertility to break down, cry, and possibly even leave the Thanksgiving celebration. As believers, we should never want to cause a person to become upset. It is advisable to always steer away from these conversations at Thanksgiving.

Keeping the Peace at Thanksgiving

During your Thanksgiving celebration this year, strive for peace. Paul told the believers in Rome, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). This teaching is still applicable to us today.

We should strive for peace and refrain from starting any conversations that could cause stress, distress, or anger for a family member or friend. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks. It is not a time to bring up debatable topics nor is it a time to make others feel uncomfortable.

If you seek peace in your conversations this Thanksgiving, you will find it. Share God’s love to others this Thanksgiving and your joy will have no bounds. Give thanks to God for His wonderful gift of salvation and the time you will have with your family and friends.

For further reading:

What Happened on the First Thanksgiving?

When Is Thanksgiving in 2021? Holiday Date, Origin, and Meaning

Why Does the World Care about My Weight When God Doesn't?

Talking Worldview at Thanksgiving: Tips for Good Conversations

Prayer for Family: Pray for Healing and Protection of Family

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Deagreez


Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.