In chilly political time, warm up to loved ones

A Thanksgiving table.
A Thanksgiving table. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

In these stressful times, it’s vital to remember what we are thankful for. This Thanksgiving, people who get together only on the holidays may be shocked by guests’ political views. Careless seating arrangements can turn such formerly innocent Thanksgiving questions as “Who likes white, who likes dark?” into total chaos.

All the more reason to remember that in 2017, family and friends are more important than ever. So unless you all agree on the state of the nation, avoid political discussions at all costs!

But sometimes that’s easier said than done. In that case, take a deep breath and look across the table at someone you care about deeply. Think of the classic Jule Styne-Jimmy Durante lyric, “Where’s the real stuff in life to cling to? Love is the answer!”

That song, “Make Someone Happy,” says it all. And now’s your chance to create that warm holiday glow.

What to do first? Be on time! Smile. Give hugs. Share stories. Go around the table and say what you’re thankful for. Then go around again and tell the host and person beside you what you love most about them. Don’t hog the drumsticks. Don’t force your delicious, homemade cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie on someone who hates it. Be happy yourself — it’s contagious.

It’s not surprising that Thanksgiving ranks only behind Christmas as America’s favorite holiday, according to The Harris Poll. No obligations, no gifts, just gathering with loved ones to give thanks and stuff our faces with goodies (in fact, stuffing ranks just behind turkey as our favorite holiday food, according to the poll).

While President George Washington called for a national day of thanksgiving in 1789, it didn’t become an annual celebration until President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it in 1863. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt changed the date from the last to the fourth Thursday in November.

And here we go again. The weather is finally starting to turn cold, and unfortunately, the political climate remains even chillier. It’s time to create our own warmth.

And it starts with family and friends. In the end, that’s all we’ve got — “the real stuff in life to cling to.” Keeping that in mind, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.