If you've ever been to a Thanksgiving dinner with family (and who hasn't), you know there's a delicate balance between keeping the conversation interesting and steering clear of controversy. There could be real value in having a go-to list of Thanksgiving dinner topics on hand to avoid any uncomfortable silences. Just whip out these fun, lighthearted, and engaging conversation starters and, as an added bonus, maybe you'll learn something new about the people around the table.
Fun and Thoughtful Thanksgiving Dinner Topics to Share
There's plenty to talk about without resorting to more controversial topics that could easily be off-limits for Thanksgiving (like politics). From sharing stories of your pet's latest antics to the best novel you've read in recent months, you can keep the conversation flowing around the Thanksgiving table by putting the spotlight on some upbeat topics. While everyone's loading their plates with turkey and sides, steer the conversation in a fun direction with one of the topics below for a successful Thanksgiving.
- Fun things your pets have done (and/or pictures of your fur babies)
- What you would do if you won the lottery
- TV shows or strange endings to TV show seasons
- Why you appreciate each person at the table
- The people who inspire you
- Favorite foods or desserts
- Books you've enjoyed this year
- Career goals
- Personal dreams and aspirations
- Sports your family enjoys
- Funny or weird social media trends
- Your funniest moment of the year
Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation Starters to Ask Family and Friends
Your Thanksgiving table is filled with some of the most important people in your life, but realizing just how much we've missed in each other's lives can sometimes catch us by surprise. And maybe you don't know some of your relatives as well as you think you do! Use these Thanksgiving dinner topics to get to know your family a little better, or use them to find out about what their plans are leading into the New Year.
- What are you most thankful for this year?
- What is your favorite recipe someone at the table creates?
- What is your favorite national monument?
- Who's your silliest family member? Why do they make you laugh?
- Where would you like to take a trip to? Why?
- Who do you want to get closer to this year?
- What's the best place you visited? Why?
- What's your best moment of the year?
- What did you learn this year?
- What month are you looking forward to? Why?
Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation Questions to Ask Kids
Kids are a huge part of what makes Thanksgiving special. Whether they're your own - or nieces, nephews, or other family members' kids - you can get everyone involved. Reign in the craziness of the younger kids or prevent the bored stares from the older ones by throwing out a few kid-friendly Thanksgiving dinner conversation starters as they scarf down their favorite dishes.
- What is your favorite holiday?
- What do you like most about Thanksgiving?
- What is your favorite thing about yourself?
- What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
- What is a new Thanksgiving tradition you might like to start?
- What is your favorite video game or YouTube video?
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
- Who is your favorite superhero?
- What is something you are thankful for that your teacher has done this year?
- What makes you feel most loved and cared for?
Conversation Starters for a Thanksgiving With Adults
If all the little ones are at the kids' table, or your Thanksgiving celebration involves only adults, you may want to up the ante with your dinner conversation and have questions on hand that have a little more flair. Keep things light or choose topics that encourage deeper conversations. These Thanksgiving dinner topics might just inspire you to try something new, too!
- What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- What's the best restaurant you've eaten at and why?
- What is your favorite dish to cook?
- What movie or TV show are you looking forward to coming out?
- What is your favorite social media platform?
- If you could spend a moment with a person you are missing, who would it be?
- What is a goal for next year?
- What is something you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet?
- What musical instrument have you always wanted to try?
- What is the last new thing you tried? How did it feel?
Thanksgiving Topics to Avoid at the Dinner Table
Making sure conversations stay lighthearted and fun can sometimes be tricky. Today, possibly more than ever, lines have been divided on a whole slew of topics. The last thing you want is for the evening to end in hurt feelings. Try to make this Thanksgiving about taking joy in the fact you are able to be together with the ones you love. We are supposed to be giving thanks, after all. To ensure peace, you may want to send this list to your guests before they arrive!
Politics can get heated fast, so they're something to steer clear of around the Thanksgiving table. Keep topics like gun control laws, opinions on the president's latest decisions, elections, and other political issues off-limits during Thanksgiving. Everyone has their personal stance on these areas, but focusing on other topics during the holiday is something the whole family will be thankful for.
Money can be a super sensitive issue, so keep it off the table this Thanksgiving. Focus on enjoying Aunt Trudie's famous pumpkin pie instead. If someone does bring up money-related topics like cash another family member owes them, loans from family, or different salaries among family members, try to deflect the conversation with a more lighthearted question or topic instead.
Religion - and how families talk about it - can really vary depending on religious backgrounds and individual faiths. You know your family best, so try to gauge what to avoid for your specific family situation. For some families, arguing over specific beliefs within the same religion might be an issue, while for others, the fact that people have different faiths can be a point of contention. It may keep the peace to save discussions about specific religious points, or big decisions like switching your faith or joining a new church, for another time.
Sexuality and Gender
Sexual identity and gender preferences are a big part of who people are, and it's important to keep your family in the loop about your preferred pronouns or major events that are happening in your life. It might be best to save discussions about changes in gender identity or sexuality for smaller gatherings or one-on-one conversations, though.
Marriage and Relationships
Marriage and relationships are deeply personal, and you might not know the details of what's happening in a couple's relationship even if they are close family members. Keep in mind that you never really know what another couple is going through, so avoid asking personal questions at a Thanksgiving gathering. Giving marriage advice at a Thanksgiving get-together is also something to avoid - unless you want to deal with (at worst) anger and hurt feelings and (at best) eye rolls from the unwanted advice.
Children and Parenting
It can be fantastic to hear about what everyone's kids and families have been up to, but using Thanksgiving to one-up each other's parenting or give unwanted parenting advice will leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. If you've heard of a new parenting trend or a great way to communicate with your kids on social media, that can be fine to share, but let everyone have their own opinions. You might also want to avoid more serious conversations about kids' futures and educational decisions in a large group at Thanksgiving - since those can quickly become debates instead of keeping everyone connected.
Eating and Allergies
It should go without saying in this day and age, but unfortunately, not everyone has the sensitivity they should when it comes to talking about food and diet. Avoid references to how much or how little someone ate or pointing out specific foods they ate or chose not to eat. This can help avoid potentially hurtful comments that relate to a person's weight, diet, or eating preferences. If someone else makes these types of comments, try to deflect the situation by complimenting the cook or talking about your favorite dishes instead. Or, just change the subject completely.
Everyone has their own thoughts about the environment and the warming of the Earth. Since this can be a sensitive topic and could lead to heated discussions, keep the conversation focused on lighter topics instead.
Gossip or Family Drama
Leave the drama at the door. This means you don't want to bring up things about your uncle and aunt's marriage or your cousin's ex. Just keep the conversation light.
Fun Thanksgiving Conversations Everyone Will Enjoy
After all the Thanksgiving prep, you want to have a fun and relaxing day with your family and friends. Keep things calm and upbeat by having Thanksgiving dinner topics on hand that will keep everyone talking without stress or controversy. By keeping things light with this go-to list, everyone will have great memories long after the last piece of pie is finished.