It’s way too early to be obsessing about the complexity of timing that a full-tilt Thanksgiving dinner requires, so I’ve been obsessing instead with the need to keep the day pleasurable and comforting. Translation: No heated discussions about politics or anything else (including tasteless jokes) that makes volume escalate and tempers flare.
By nature reasonably non-judgmental, I believe and respect that everyone is entitled to his or her opinions. That tenet is fundamental to our freedom and our way of life. But there is a sacredness about Thanksgiving and Christmas that I want to protect. Fiercely. The holidays should effervesce with gratitude, comfort, and joy—not drown in polarization about matters that will eventually resolve, one way or another, whether we bicker about them on November 28 or December 25 or not.
But how to communicate this to guests without offending them? Yesterday I decided that I would write a little poem, a lighter touch than posting an interdict on the door. I’ll dress it up a bit with an illustration and either email it in advance or place it at each table setting. I hope no one takes offense, but if that happens, so be it.
Welcome to Thanksgiving
We are thrilled you’re a guest at our Thanksgiving table,
But we need a small payment, of which you are able.
In the holiday spirit we hope you’ll refrain
From discussions that focus on topics that strain.
We’ve different concerns and opinions for sure,
But on days meant to be placid, they’re best left at the door.
Think instead of the bounty we are blessed to be sharing,
Of loved ones and friendship, of laughter and caring.
Thus all can enjoy the feast in full measure
With nary a worry about rising blood pressure.
If you’ve been worrying about holiday discord, too, feel free to use the idea or the poem itself. Or write a better one yourself—which probably wouldn’t be hard to do. We will never preserve the beauty and meaning of the holidays if we don’t stand up for them, right in our own backyard.