Having A Drama-Free Thanksgiving

visiting family

Thanksgiving is seen as the perfect time to visit with family and express gratitude for the positive things in our lives. While it’s a time to treasure for some, plenty of people find the holiday quite stressful due to the arguments that commonly break out over one topic or another. 

The ability to reduce or eliminate Thanksgiving drama somewhat depends on whether you’re hosting the event or visiting family in their homes. 

Let’s explore a couple of ways to avoid drama and ensure a more positive holiday with your family.

In Your Own Home

If your family is hosting Thanksgiving, you have a bit more control over what you’ll tolerate in your own home. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to expect your guests to respect your property and your guests by avoiding drama. If applicable, take these steps to ensure a more pleasant holiday gathering.

  1. Set Intentions: Remind your guests when they show up that you expect polite, civil behavior from everyone in attendance. You might also try to steer conversations away from triggering topics by keeping the news off the TV, or politely stating that a given topic isn’t appropriate for the event.
  2. Be Selective: If there are people in your family that you (and everyone else) can’t get along with, you don’t have to have them at your house. Keep your invitation list selective so that people who are looking to start trouble have to find it elsewhere.
  3. Provide Distractions: Games and activities are a good way to keep your guests engaged in something other than arguing about current events. Provide plenty of fun distractions.

Visiting Family

If you’re attending a Thanksgiving event at someone else’s home, you’re a bit more limited when it comes to your ability to prevent drama from occurring. However, these three steps might help you keep the drama from falling on you or your household.

  1. Deflect: Change the subject if a family member approaches you with a topic you don’t want to discuss.
  2. Don’t Overstay: If you’re relatively sure that arguments are going to start, have an exit strategy planned. Be prepared to step out with grace when you feel that the environment has become a hostile place for your children.
  3. Seek Comforting Faces: If you want to avoid a certain individual, seek family members who you get along with and spend time talking to them as much as you can.

Finally, if the idea of a big Thanksgiving celebration fills you with dread and anxiety, there’s always the option to have a small holiday dinner at home with your spouse and children. 


Others might be disappointed or annoyed at you for “skipping” Thanksgiving, but your well-being (and that of your children) is of utmost importance. Saying no to toxic behavior around your family is a decision you’re well within your right to make in order to truly enjoy giving thanks for the positives in your life.

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