3 Thanksgiving Dinner Icebreakers for a Less Awkward Holiday

Thanksgiving San Francisco Bay Conversation Icebreakers Pollution Bag Ban Plastic Industry Cigarette Butts
Don’t hide from your relatives this Thanksgiving! Our 3 icebreakers will impress everyone at your Thanksgiving table. Photo via Rick Lewis

No one should have to suffer through awkward conversation over a plate of roast turkey and green bean casserole. Because, let’s face it, many of us would give almost anything to escape your siblings’ arguments, or grandmother’s well-meant but still annoying nit-picking over what you’re doing with your life.

Instead, take control of your destiny this Thanksgiving with our list of conversation icebreakers. Break your family out of its Thanksgiving rut and get a healthy debate going by reaching for one of these conversation topics instead of your 5th helping of stuffing.

1. “Hey Grandma, have you heard about California’s horrific drought?”

For the well-connected lot of us, talk of Cali’s drought on social media and various news outlets around the country is hard to escape – and many of us have changed our ways to deal with it. But there are a surprising amount of people who don’t realize our state’s drought impacts everything from ski season in Tahoe to the food and wine on our Thanksgiving tables to the wildlife with which we share our resources. Now is not the time to be bashful when it comes to raising awareness about the drought. Despite recent rains, we need a lot more water. Check out these stark photos of the High Sierras that show the lack of snow.

2. “Did you guys know that 3 billion cigarette butts are littered in the Bay Area every year and many of them flow into San Francisco Bay?”

Your Aunt Margaret still smokes? That’s okay –she probably knows she should quit anyway. Just make sure she knows that cigarette butts are one of the worst pollutants threatening the health of San Francisco Bay, as an affectionate reminder that her butts should end up in trashcans, not the pavement or storm drains. Here at Save The Bay, we’re taking it a step further by offering passionate folks a way to tell our Bay Area leaders to adopt and enforce various outdoor smoking bans. If your family and friends feel the same way you do (doesn’t it seem like everyone has an opinion on smoking?), encourage them to sign our petition here.

3. “So how about that bag ban?”

You take your trusty reusable bags wherever you go. You know that pesky, feather-light plastic bags often end up in our waterways, and stay in landfills forever – which is why California’s new statewide bag ban is the best law ever. Unlike many, you also know that Big Plastic is pouring millions of dollars into armies of paid signature collectors who spread lies in order to get a bag ban referendum on the ballot in November 2016. Their deadline is the end of 2014, so there’s still time for action. Rally your own troops (your family!) and tell them there’s a way to stop Big Plastic in its delusional, money-grubbing tracks by refusing to sign any petitions about the bag ban and telling their friends. They’ll be thankful you gave them an excuse to shake off their tryptophan-induced coma.

Now you’re armed and ready for another (slightly less awkward) family gathering! Only this time, you might just end up the star of the show, instead of your mom’s beloved pumpkin pie.