On Thanksgiving, plenty of good food is pretty much guaranteed. Plenty of good conversation? Not so much.
With relatives of all generations (and all political persuasions) coming together for the holiday, it can sometimes be hard to find conversation topics that spur meaningful discussion without devolving into an argument. Which is a shame, because science shows real conversation makes us much happier than small talk. Plus, the elders in your family are often an untapped reservoir of incredible wisdom and memories.
So don't just keep it to sports, the weather, and Hollywood gossip this year. Instead, prepare to spur real dialogue with an amazing list of 100 Thanksgiving-friendly conversation starters from the blog of writer Alexandra Franzen. Armed with these icebreakers, you might actually learn something incredible about the family you've known for years.
Here are 45 of my favorites to get you started (minus those that seemed a little dark for a holiday celebration and a handful of racy or political subjects that you might not want to discuss with your uncle) or click over to the complete list. I guarantee you that everyone will find something to start a meaningful conversation this holiday.
Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy? Which ones--and why?
Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you?
Are you a starter or a finisher?
Are you living your life purpose--or still searching?
Do you believe that everyone deserves forgiveness?
Do you ever hunt for answers or omens in dreams?
Do you ever yearn for your life before Facebook?
Do you have a morning ritual?
Do you have any habits you wish you could erase?
Do you have any irrational fears?
Do you have any personal rituals for the end of the year?
Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a leader?
Do you think we're designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?)
Ever fantasize about being in a rock band? What would your group be called?
Has a teacher ever changed your life? How so?
Have you ever dreamed about starting a business? (Or, if you've already got one, a new business?)
Have you ever fantasized about changing your first name? To what?
Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate?
Have you ever met one of your heroes?
Have you ever pushed your body further than you dreamed possible?
Have you ever unplugged from the internet for more than a week?
Have you ever won an award? What was it for?
If you could enroll in a PhD program, with your tuition paid in full by a mysterious benefactor, what would you study--and why?
If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?
If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell him or her?
If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do?
If you were searching through an online dating website, what's the No. 1 quality/trait that would attract you to someone's profile?
What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both?
What are you bored of?
What are you devoted to creating in the new year?
What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money?
What was your proudest moment from the past 12 months?
What was your very first job?
What was your worst haircut/hairstyle of all time?
What's one thing you're deeply proud of--but would never put on your résumé?
What's something you've tried that you'll never, ever try again?
What's the best compliment you've ever received?
What's the last book that you couldn't put down?
What's the most out-of-character choice you've ever made?
What's the strangest date you've ever been on?
What's the worst piece of advice you've ever been given?
What's your personal anthem or theme song?
Where and when do you get your best ideas?
Would you like to write a book? (About what?)
What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment?