Make Holiday Dinners Great Again
Yes, I am talking politics and you are not, so there!
Folks, it’s that time of year when we get ready to break bread with each other for those annual family gatherings. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other celebrations (no bad intentions if I left out a holiday) it’s bound to happen that there’s going to be a political conversation. In my case, not so much as my gathering is very small and we’re going to be too busy on neutral ground. That said, I do have memories of political arguments and based on those, I believe I am qualified to bring this to the table. A bonus is that I am a social worker, although I guess you could say I am retired, although that’s not how it works in my world.
Here is what I propose as a resolution to holiday meals and politics and a way to make holiday’s great again. It’s a wall. Yes, you heard me right. I suggest a wall right down the middle of the table. To make it easy, remember that pretty table runner that Aunt Sally bought you for a wedding present? Use that. There’s your dividing line.
So, place your table runner down the table lengthwise. If you have a round table, well, improvise. Line up that salt shaker collection that you have collecting dust. Use toy soldiers or Legos. Be creative! O.K. Do you get the gist?
Now, after you have made all your guys remove their hats, because it’s proper for fine holiday dining and who wants to see all those caps bobbing up and down and their messages inciting some grumbles? Daddy would not want a hat at the table and even made me take mine off on a restaurant. So much for bad hair day! Toss those political hats by the fireplace. That should create some drama. JK folks! Lighten up!
Enlist the youngsters to create name cards to be placed where everybody is to sit. And here’s the catch on this: place all of one political persuasion on one side of the table and the other persuasion on the other. Independents or undecided get the ends or the far corners.
If you think this will cause a commotion, it’s your house, your rules. And I bet Uncle Harry who is married to Aunt Sally will be relieved. They’re on opposite sides of the political wall and Uncle Harry will be happy not to be elbowed by Aunt Sally every time he brings up some disgusting political snark.
On one side of the table put the following: mashed potatoes, salt, butter, dressing, ham, green bean casserole, Waldorf salad, dark meat of turkey, and vinegar. On the other side place gravy, pepper, cranberry sauce, corn, macaroni and cheese, rice, turkey white meat, collards, cole slaw, rolls, and cornbread.
Each side of the table gets what is on their side without asking, it’s passed side to side. In order to get anything on the other side of the table runner/Lego/toy soldier line the person asking has to tell the person on the other side what they would like, please, and to tell the other person one thing they like about the person and vice versa. See how that goes. So, for example: Uncle Harry wants gravy and looks at Aunt Sally who has the gravy in front of her and says, “Sally, would you please pass the gravy, my dear blue eyed, woman?” to which Aunt Sally would respond with, “Harry, of course, my dear man who works so hard to provide us with our needs.” Of course, you might want to shorten this, or the food may get cold.
The idea is really two or three-fold, just like the napkins.
1. Common manners.
2. Recognizing gratitude.
3. Lack of time to argue because of hunger.
That’s my suggestion. And when dinner is over and it’s time for dessert, keep up the same scenario. Hopefully, by then, everybody will feel so warm inside that there won’t be any fussing over politics. They may not even notice, until it’s too late, that all those political hats are up in flames in the fireplace. Oh, Uncle Bert, you sly old fox, you. You never did care for politics. How are those Bears doing? Are the Cowboys playing?
Now, that’s another story to be addressed during Super Bowl.
Have a happy and safe celebration, whatever you celebrate!
Make America Eat, Drink and Be Merry with Each Other Again!