Barbara’s Top Ten Tips for Not Sprouting Feathers on Thanksgiving:
10. Approach each person, no matter the age or life circumstance, with an attitude that you can find a rabbit trail of conversation to follow. These open-ended, neutral questions are jumpstarters because they invite the other to go any direction he or she chooses: “What do you do when you’re not at Thanksgiving dinners?” “Tell me about your family.”
9. Don’t say, “You’ve put on weight.” Save it for your own mirror after dinner. Do say, “It’s good to see you. What are you doing these days?”
8. Don’t say, “You’ve lost an enormous amount of weight!” Do say, “You look fantastic!” You’ll get a brighter smile in return.
7. Don’t insist that children hug or kiss someone. If anyone else insists and the child seems uncomfortable, intervene on the child’s behalf, even if it’s not your child.
6. Keep asking the hosts, “How can I be helpful?”
5. Don’t say, “Do you realize that right when your life went down the tubes, mine got really good? Isn’t that amazing?” Maybe it’s true, but it’s kinder to keep life’s irony to yourself.
4. If someone’s dealing with job loss, illness, divorce or grief, ask how life is for him or her now. If person doesn’t want to talk about them, he or she will say so. Generally, people appreciate the opportunity to speak honestly with someone who shows genuine interest.
3. If all else fails, eat the turkey and gravy that’s on your plate and avoid the ones walking around the room.
2. If you’re the turkey, eat your humble pie and apologize. Apologizing for unintended injury is the path of graciousness, humility and strength.
1. “Go into the world in peace. Have courage. Hold onto what is good. Return no one evil for evil. strengthen the fainthearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing always in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 12:9-21).