The table is set and all of your loved ones gather round. You haven’t seen many of these friends and family members since this time last year. The only life updates you’ve exchanged are the ones accessible to the rest of your nearest and (not so) dearest on social media.
Let the epic conversation begin. But where to start?
You are intelligent, deep-thinking individuals who are interested and interesting and there are plenty of things to talk about.
But suddenly the conversation goes down one of many rabbit holes familiar to new-ish parents. We all willingly forget our diverse range of thoughts and feelings and fall into a conversational trap destined to reduce us to prematurely middle-aged and kid-obsessed parental tropes.
This is entirely preventable.
Holiday Conversation Topics Parents Should Avoid
If you feel yourself being drawn into a conversation about any of the following, reverse course immediately:
Minivans. Which model has the most legroom? What color is seen least in the school parking lot? Do they really have more trunk room than the mid-sized SUV?
Grocery stores. I honestly can’t rave enough about Aldi. The prices are cheaper, there are always surprises in the seasonal aisle, and I can finish a full cart before one of the kids loses his/her mind. But then Hy-Vee really is the happiest place. I just don’t know.
Holiday shopping. Sure, I don’t want my kid obsessed with the commercialism of the season but did you see that coupon? If I buy eight of this thing nobody wants, the ninth one is free and I’ll get 30 percent off this other thing nobody cares about.
Recipes. This one had nearly no flavor but all of the kids ate it up. I spent nearly two hours prepping this but it was a definite keeper. I found this one that requires a dozen new ingredients from the store and it’s totally worth it.
Ageism. Who doesn’t have complaints about younger co-workers without kids – or any kind of stress – not getting the job done and sleeping far too regularly? How dare they??!!
Holiday Conversation Lifeboats
I don’t care if the minivan conversation is informative or the recipes sound amazing. Sure, everyone can appreciate a good deal, but that’s not the point. You’re better than this! You are a thriving individual with important things to say!
So if one of these topics creeps up on your dinnertime conversation and you feel your self-respect lagging, reach for a conversational lifeboat back to significance. If it’s too difficult to swerve into your hopes and dreams, consider resetting the conversation with an old standby and go from there.
I mean, it is just so cold. Too cold to do anything, really. (You can always count on weather small talk to end truly troubling conversational threads).
It’s tempting to fall into these traps, I know. It may seem like your life is nothing but anecdotes about bedtime, illness, and consumerism, but you can overcome. Find your way back to the complex individual you used to be. I believe in you.
I am far weaker. Having exhausted my child-rearing and deal-finding tales and my millenial-bashing fun, I’ll be quietly watching my kids play with their new gifts before packing them all into our well-researched minivan and driving home at a reasonable hour.