10 things to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner other than politics and a pandemic

"The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix has people wanting to learn how to play chess.
"The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix has people wanting to learn how to play chess. (Pexels.)

Even though the tables at Thanksgiving this year might be smaller (or with relatives meeting over a Zoom call), of course, there will still be small talk -- and considering the year we’ve had, there could be some disagreements, as well.

While a healthy debate is always nice, this year has been a lot. If you don’t want World War III to erupt in your home, try bringing up these topics that are certainly current events, but have way lower stakes than topics like the 2020 election or the ongoing pandemic.

‘The Crown’

The new season of Netflix’s hit show “The Crown” is here, and it seems like the show finally got to the good part of the royal family timeline: Princess Diana.

“The Crown” has been showing us the life of Queen Elizabeth and her family, and it’s always been fascinating, but to finally see the Diana years, and learn about how she was (allegedly) treated by Prince Charles, the media and the other people in her life, is interesting. Those who remember the ‘80s won’t be too shocked to see the crap Diana had to deal with, but millennials or Gen Z-ers who only remember Diana’s death will be learning more about Princess Diana’s life.

Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco hasn’t had a moment like this since O.J. Simpson drove one in a police chase many years ago, so it’s exciting that the car is back and looking better than ever. It has a sleek new design that comes in modern colors and off-roading features.

Something Good

Ever since the pandemic started, people have stepped up and tried to do more good in the world, like helping out a neighbor or friend in need. Why not talk about some of the feel-good stories you’ve seen on the news lately? There are even sites dedicated to the cause, like our very own Something Good, to show folks spreading the love in their community.


This might be a head-scratcher on the list, but if you’ve watched “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, then you know what we’re talking about. The show focuses on the fictional character of orphan Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy growing up during The Cold War in America.

Beth ascends to the top of the chess-playing world, and while most people watching the show know literally nothing about chess, the scenes of Beth playing competitive chess were the best parts. So, who knows, maybe someone at your Thanksgiving table/Zoom call knows how to play?

Michael B. Jordan

Not only is Michael B. Jordan one of the best parts of “Black Panther,” but he was also recently named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

So if you’ve ever seen “Black Panther,” you probably understand why he earned the title.

‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’

If there are any reality TV-loving people at your Thanksgiving table/Zoom call, then you will definitely want to talk about Bravo’s latest installment of the “Real Housewives” franchise, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

While there are many “Real Housewives” franchises, this is the first city to have religion play a central role of the show. If you live in Utah or Salt Lake City, then you’re probably pretty familiar with the Mormon faith, but if you know nothing about the religion, it’s fascinating to see how each of the women on the show have a different relationship with it. Oh, and there’s the typical drama that you expect from reality TV, so it’s pretty great to watch, even if only three episodes have come out.

‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’

While one new reality TV with tons of promise moves in, one of the most iconic shows is taking its final bow. The Kardashian clan announced that their show would be ending, and depending on how you feel about Kim Kardashian and Co., it’s either the worst thing to happen in your life, or you couldn’t care less.

Taco Bell

If you’re a Taco Bell aficionado, then you already know what this section is going to be about.

Dear Taco Bell, please stop getting rid of your beloved menu items. The fast food giant that always thinks outside the bun (although some of those ideas have been greater than others), discontinued the iconic Mexican Pizza, and Taco Bell lovers everywhere sobbed.

Apparently it was due to the product’s packaging, which is a huge waste of paper, so like, we get it, but in the year 2020, haven’t we all suffered enough? Couldn’t they have gotten rid of it once a vaccine was created? At least we still have the Crunchwrap Supreme. If there are any other Mexican Pizza lovers at Thanksgiving, pour one out for the beloved menu item.

Air fryer

Well, 2019′s kitchen gadget of the year was the Instant Pot, and this year, it looks like it’s the air fryer. It’s basically a toaster oven, except it gets your food super, super crispy. Like, way crispier than a toaster over or a regular oven ever could. It’s great for heating up frozen fried foods, but you can also put veggies, steak, chicken and even salmon in it. Maybe some people at your Thanksgiving have one and can share some recipes?

Taylor Swift

One of the brighter spots of 2020 was getting a surprise album from Swift.

Swift has been making bubble gum pop for the past few albums, but this time around, she stripped things down and gave us an almost completely acoustic album called “Folklore.” You could play it for your family at dinner, and then discuss how she was just nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Grammy Awards in January.

Hopefully some of these topics become useful if you run out of nice things to talk about with your extended family -- but if you do have to bring up controversial and opinionated topics like politics or the pandemic, always keep it nice and respectful.

About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.