conversation starters for the holidays

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Conversation Starters for the Holidays

Tips for avoiding awkward silences at the dinner table.

Photo: Thinkstock / The Nest

Getting the family together during the holidays is great for swapping stories, but what happens when the talk of the table turns uncomfortable? Thankfully, our easy guide shows you how to make the most of your family time without moments of awkward silence.

Hipster Cousin
Safe zone: Indie music, arm tattoos, plaid
Topics to avoid: Veganism, animal rights
Changing the subject: Ask if their distressed denim jacket is vintage. Better yet, offer to organize a trip to local thrift stores.

Pervy Uncle
Safe zone: Football, poker, his vintage beer mug collection
Topics to avoid: Your new yoga hobby, photos of your last beach vacation, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
Changing the subject: “How ’bout them Yankees?” If that doesn’t work, simply pawn him off on your brother’s new girlfriend and head toward the eggnog.

Out-of-Touch Grandma
Safe zone: Bingo, The Price Is Right, needlepoint
Topics to avoid: “I disagree...Drew Carey is a much better host than Bob Barker.”
Changing the subject: Show off your new knit scarf and remind her of the Golden Girls marathon that’s currently on.

Gossipy Aunt
Safe zone: Katherine Heigl movies, your heartbreak over the TomKat split
Topics to avoid: Her obvious Chardonnay addiction, anything about your personal life
Changing the subject: “Is it just me, or was Jessica Simpson pregnant for two years?”

Meticulous Mother-in-Law
Safe zone: The adorable baby next door, your new Manolo’s, how much you adore her manicure
Topics to avoid: The fact that you don’t foresee kids in your future anytime soon...…or at all.
Changing the subject: Compliment either her blow out or her pumpkin pie recipe (both, if you want extra brownie points).

-- Rachel Sylvester

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