One of my co-workers reads this blog and said she especially liked the Guilt post because she thinks it would make an excellent discussion topic when her gang is over for Christmas. She’s going to feed them all wine and get them to talk about what their ideas/opinions/feelings/experiences are about guilt.
While that certainly sounds like a fun time, I thought it might be prudent to offer up a few other options for discussion in case the guilt thing doesn’t pan out and/or goes horribly awry. And, of course, I welcome your topic ideas, too, because lord knows we’re all going to be grasping for something – anything – to talk about over Christmas dinner so we can avoid that minefield of hot-button topics with which every family gathering is rife.
- Go around the table and ask everyone if they had to have sex with a member of the family who it would be. Make note of those who don’t squirm or don’t have to think about their answer.
- Get everyone to stand up and then point out those who have gained the most weight since last Christmas. Tell them what they’re doing wrong and how easy it would be to drop those pounds if only they put their minds to it.
- Ask the gathered clan to imagine that their spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend dies tomorrow — who would they want to marry/date next? It has to be a real person like the neighbour or their boss or their fitness coach or something, not a celebrity or some historical figure.
- If you’re part of a nice Christian family, a good intellectual discussion topic would be whether or not Jesus was gay. Why wasn’t he married? What was the deal with all those bearded men he hung around with? And what exactly does a “disciple” do for a guy anyway??
- To whet the appetite and keep the hostess on her toes, everyone can recount Christmas dinners they’ve had in the past and the ways in which they were better than this one.
- Someone should nominate themselves as the official announcer of the fat and calories content of everything on the dinner table and instructor on how exactly the turkeys/pigs/etc., (that are featured in the main course) lived and died.
- Once everyone has been through a few marriages and divorces it’s fun to play “Remember the Ex. Compare everyone’s current spouse with their Ex, especially if the Ex was really hot or smart or rich or something.
- A family dinner is a good time to tell everyone that you’ve discovered your spouse has been cheating on you and that you’re getting a divorce. Make sure you don’t warn your spouse ahead of time that you’re going to do this. It’s really great if you have photos.
- Women’s rights have gone too far. Discuss.
- Try to help the least financially successful member of the family figure out why he doesn’t measure up to the rest of you and tell him that he had to pull his socks up. (You can similarly converse over the perennially single person in the family or the not-so-newlyweds who show no signs of getting on with childbearing)
- To get a truly wild conversation going, make up something vague but outrageous like,” So, Dad… someone told me they thought they saw you making out with some young guy one night in a bar or something. What was that all about?” You’d be surprised how many times your “made-up” story actually turns out to be true. The ensuing chat is sure to be interesting.
- Invite a random stranger to dinner. Instruct them to pretend not to understand anything anyone says, to speak only gibberish and to display some odd habits and behaviours. Don’t offer any explanation for the stranger’s presence. When someone asks you who they are say you don’t know, you thought they came with Aunt Phyllis. Trust me, this one will spark conversation for years to come.
Okay, so here’s hoping all your Christmas family gatherings are warm, joyous and harmonious occasions. And remember to make sure all family members are kept constantly supplied with booze; because well-lubricated guests ensure the conversation is as lively and free-flowing as raw sewage in the Ottawa River.