Real talk: Expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving won’t be easy.
There will be no turkey with the fixins at grandma’s house because climbing COVID-19 numbers makes it too dangerous to visit. Half of us aren’t speaking to each other — we can thank the contentious presidential election for that. Job losses coupled with an uncertain economy means the pomp and Prosecco of the holiday season will be on ice.
Carrying on a pleasant dinner conversation when the mood is so low — feels impossible.
What do we talk about when we aren’t sure what to talk about? How do we keep the chitchat upbeat without feeling like we are faking it?
We’ve compiled tips and conversation prompts to help you have intentional and meaningful conversations. The goal: To help you create a new narrative around the Thanksgiving holiday when the old ones are out of reach.
There is still much to be thankful for, said the Rev. Charles Howard, chaplain of the University of Pennsylvania. “We have our health. We have dinner. We may have recovered from COVID-19, these are all things we can take turns sharing.”
Family stories are a normal part of family gatherings, said Heidi Rose, chair of Villanova University’s communication department, but this year we might want to make a deliberate effort to tap into old memories. “These stories are so important because they illustrate our roots,” Rose said. “They help us relive old memories, and the little ones learn important things about their family and create their own memories.” Pro-tip: Break out the family album. You will be amazed what old stories those black-and-whites and Polaroids will jog.
Start visualizing your 2021 and share it with the people you love the most. “Sharing our dreams offers a window into who we are,” said Vera Ludwig, research associate of mindfulness and relationships at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “Now might be the time to speak our dreams aloud and give them life.”