103 Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Topics
By: Naomi J. Golbeck, Decals.com Staff Writer
If you want some fresh Turkey Day dinner table topics, then stay tuned.
You love your guests, but you may also disagree on some touchy topics.
I’ve compiled a list of 103 interesting, non-inflammatory dinner topics that will keep the conversation flowing!
Let’s get talking!
What You’re Not Thankful For
Hear me out: we all know Thanksgiving is about being grateful, so let’s get some negativity out of the way and spare the gut-wrenching avoidance tactics.
They literally suck your blood, and it also hurts. There is no love lost here. The silver lining though is that it is almost winter and they’re probably all gone for a few months.
Even though many people tele-commute nowadays, traffic can still be a female dog. You have two options: deal with it or find a work-from home job.
How much was the turkey per pound and what do you mean there weren’t any tater-tots for the hotdish this year? What on earth is going on!
Decaf beverages are like saying “fiddlesticks” instead of cursing after you stub a toe. The intent is still there, so why not go for it!
Crocs with socks
Thank Seattle, WA for starting the socks and sandals trend. A fad that has morphed into crocs & socks. Will your feet still be comfy when your car breaks down in subzero temps?
Let’s face it, we all need a paycheck, but my God, some of the ways you get underpaid suck. This time of year reminds me of working retail sales, on Black Friday. And I’d rather sell my plasma.
Many of the items in this category will feed the worry hounds and keep you awake at night, including the fact that you can’t sleep!
Amongst all the other gripes in life, it doesn't seem to matter how often you trim your man claws. There will always be a wayward hangnail or two.
Losing your email password
Like, why?!? And it always happens when you need that UPS shipping return label and RMA number. You’re a real crook, Murphy and your dang law, a downright time thief.
With inflation, sleeplessness, and lost passwords, you have enough on your plate. You shouldn't need to wonder if that overpass is about to give way while sipping decaf in bumper-to-bumper traffic,..
Sports & Recreation
It’s Thanksgiving Day and there is nothing like watching the Dallas Cowboys unless you dislike the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s the NFL Official Schedule so you can see who else plays today!
Hockey involves behemoths on razor blades, bearing sticks, beating on each other over a puck. What’s not to love? The Refs, that's who. Do you need a German Shepherd, linesman? Because you’re blind!
Basketball is exciting! It’s like ballet with pumpkins and nets. And of course, your fantasy team lineup. Who’s in your line up?
The US Figure Skating Championships are occurring Monday January 23rd through Sunday January 29th,2023. Who is tuning in?
Let’s all go skiing after dinner! Then we can justify eating more pie and gobbling turkey noodle soup tomorrow afternoon.
Upland bird hunting
Ask around the table if anyone has snagged any pheasants yet this year. Should we go try tomorrow? Don’t forget your orange hat and vest!
There’s nothing like a small-town bar and some billiards and beer. Who plays pool and how is the team doing this season?
You know there is a super flexible yoga nut or two at the table. Ask them why they like or dislike it? What are the origins of Yoga? Find out!
Does anyone in the family or friends group play or follow soccer? Then ask them why. Joking, All sports are fun and good for cardio.
This game is a great way to cheaply entertain kids with an old coffee can and a mixture of tag, hide-and-go-seek and capture the flag. The origins of Kick-the-can point to the Great Depression when “here play with this can” was a welcome invitation.
Is he dead? If so, who was involved? Who saw the new movie about the King? Thoughts?
Detail any UFO experiences you’ve had. What are some theories other people have?
How do you define a sasquatch? What are some favorite television shows or podcasts on the topic?
When did John Lennon really die? How many songs did they write themselves? Is any of this true?
How old are those bones, anyways? Where does oil come from? Jurassic Park psych-op?
Discuss the event of that fateful 22nd of November, 1963. Who was alive to see it on television?
The missing sock phenomenon
This is a common experience with every household clothes dryer. But did the sock really go missing in the dryer or is it lost in some CERN portal in the washer? Mandela effect? Gnomes?
What the heck are they doing in Switzerland and Is CERN directly connected to your washing machine? But, seriously, what does everyone think about it?
Nicholas Cage is a vampire
Does anyone have any theories? Does anyone have any convincing evidence? Are any other actors probably creatures of the night?
What’s with the on and off war on cholesterol? Does anyone have any theories or nutritional insights? Eggs.
Which was the most influential: the P-51 Mustang, Corsair or something else?
The influence of television on the nuclear family
Prior to the 1950s and 60s, TVs were not commonplace in American households. In fact, they were just a status symbol. How has TV influenced the family?
The World's Fairs
Some notable World's Fairs were held in San Francisco, Chicago and most recently in India. What inventions that came out of these events do we still use today?
Weapons of the Revolutionary War
How could such an important war have been fought with such provincial tools? Cannon balls? Muskets? Guerilla warfare!
The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights protects you from governmental overreach; it doesn’t grant you any rights. The Founding Fathers believed that you were granted those rights by God.
Alexander the Great
He is said to have been tutored by Aristotle, led massive war campaigns throughout Asia and played the lyre. Ask family members who their tutors were and how they influenced them.
The French Revolutions
The French may indulge in cheese and wine and tobacco, but they’re also good at revolting. Which one does Les Misérables the best service: novel, opera, or movie?
What did this guy allegedly do while his city was destroyed? What would you do if you had been him?
The Self-domestication of Cats
Not so much historical, but it’s fun to talk about our tiny living room tigers. Did they come from Egypt, Asia or what?
Vikings (the Nordic Ones)
Savages or war strategists with blonde hair? How accurate was the Netflix original series?
Food You are not Eating on Thanksgiving
Take a family vote on chicken piece preferences: legs, breasts, or thighs? Since you’ll be eating leftover turkey for a month, pre-plan your chicken tacos for December.
I’ve eaten plenty of watermelon seeds and never grew one in my tummy. Who else was blackmailed by this threat as a kid?
These highly nutritious seeds are a habitual chew for many people. What are the pros and cons and social rituals, e.g., how to dispose of the shells?
Salmon isn’t for everyone. It is however a very healthy fish to consume. Ask your own salmon aficionados if sockeye or king salmon are better for grilling?
Canned or baked, zucchini has its place in every midwestern home. Share some favorite zucchini recipes that everyone will enjoy.
Tasty angus beef on a bun with extra cheese and pickles will be good sometime next week. Talk about what kinds of burgers to look forward to.
Lasagna is a tasty cold weather comfort food. You could even make it with ground turkey and elk sausage. Discuss how you and your table mates prefer theirs.
Birthdays, and even New Years are great occasions to have some freckled spongey goodness. But not today. Instead, what pies did everyone bring?
Fish in lye should not lay on the table today. But you can always reminisce about everyone's first experience with lutefisk. Grimace.
I’ve been to Scotland. And I didn’t eat haggis. I’m sure the Scots devour much sheep stomach stuffed with intestines for THEIR thanksgiving celebration. I doubt it is on any American table right now.
Cherished Christmas Cookie Recipes
I grew up devouring all these cookies, and we always used the Betty Crocker recipes. What are your family favorite recipes?
They may not look like much, but these powdered delights are great for dipping in coffee or tea. They’re almost like a biscuit donut.
Everyone loves these airy delicious, shaped sugar cookies. Betty Crocker does it again with this Christmas class.
These Norwegian cookies are just plain sweet. They can be a challenge to make because of their delicacy, so see if you can do it!
The marriage of peanut butter and chocolate can’t be left out at Christmas time. Just don’t let the dogs near them!
These are delicious. You don’t even need to turn on the oven for these cookies, making this an ideal recipe for kids.
5 Random $5 Topics
In 10 words or less, describe how are you a valuable member of society
Better yet, ask the person to your right to answer this for you. Some mid-dinner word affirmations will be so nice.
Novelty license plates
Who has them and what do they say or look like? What would you change or add? What are some funny ones you’ve seen in person?
Pick a different name for yourself
Be honest. It's OK to choose a symbol like Prince did. After all, you didn’t sign your birth certificate or create your alias.
One oddball item you would like to have on a survival TV show
Think outside of the box. Look around the dining room and think of things that have multi-purposes. Hint: the cheese grater. Or you could bring a box.
Favorite high school bus driver
Reminisce, share some untold teenaged stories. This kind of stuff is usually comedy gold and your kids will learn how tough life was for you.
Original Twilight Zone Episodes
This should get everyone involved! I’ll go first. My favorite episode is a toss-up between The Shelter and Eye of the Beholder. Your turn.
One thing is for sure about cartels; they know how to move a product. From Ruth’s hair to Buddy’s wisdom this show had EVERYTHING.
Walking into Thanksgiving dinner is like Cheers, only instead of saying “Norm!” they’ll say “How nice. He brought a salad.” And let’s face it, nothing is NORMal about your family.
Ahh, from the Stonecutters effortless reference to the Masons all the way to Tomacco as a probable real-life product, you don’t need any more help with this one.
If you haven’t watched this show, you should. What you shouldn’t do though, is mess with Montanans on their own territory. Bad. Idea.
Today reminds me of Punkin’ Chunkin’! I’ve never tried that one, but we did use an industrial strength slingshot to nail corn silos with water balloons one year… seriously.
Look over at the highchair right now. Is your baby watching you? Watching a little too closely perhaps?
This show proves that creative writing can turn routine office work into a masterpiece. A masterpiece centered around paper. Ala Michael Scott, if you will, a paper-piece. You know what comes next.
This show is an absolute homage to the 1980s. From Kate Bush to Soviet Siberia, kids young and old can gulp a piece guilt free. Not to mention the Demogorgan!!
The Walking Dead Series(es)
I’d imagine that Rick Grimes riding into Atlanta on horseback is akin to a determined Karen driving her minivan into the Mall of America parking complex on Black Friday. Zombies, alright.
A Christmas Story (1983)
A perfectly well-rounded Christmas movie that we all watch on Thanksgiving for some reason. I think it is because of the Bumpus dog turkey scene.
“You’ll shoot your eye out!”
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
John Hughes at his finest.
“Y’know, the finest line a man’ll walk is between success at work and success at home. I got a motto – like your work, love your wife.” - Del Griffith
Addams Family Values (1993)
I mean, she had a point.
"I don't want to be in the pageant." - Wednesday Addams
-"Don't you want to help me realize my vision?"
"Your work is puerile and under-dramatized. You lack any sense of structure, character and the Aristotelian unities." - Wednesday Addams
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
This is an eye-opening expose about aging Minnesotan men fighting over a woman named after a mermaid.
“Hey, Snyder! Why don’t you do the world a favor and take your lower lip and pull it over your head and swallow?” - Max Goldman
Haven’t seen this one in a while or at all? This film features Ed O’Neil as the best step-dad EVER.
“Nothing burps better than bacon. How’s your water?” - Dutch Douley
Hallmark Movie Script Rewrites
“They Kiss in the First Ten Seconds: Find Out Why”
Just kiss already is a universal sigh when it comes to these kinds of movies. My vote is to get the physical romance out of the way, so your mind stays clear of the gutter and focused on the character development.
“Let Brad Have More Eggnog, He’s fine!”
No, stop right there, Karen. Save it. Brad’s an adult and his judgment will come in the morning, for now, he’s wildly entertaining.
“Is it Freaking New Year’s Eve Yet?”
Can just ONE, one of those too good-looking cast members have a Sidney Lumet (The Network) moment?
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take Christmas anymore!”
“A Suspiciously Undecorated (Christmas) Tree in the Woods”
“Holy carp!” Said Jenny emerging from her wrecked Toyota Prius. “That tree is so, so raw and bare and…”
“Wait a sec,” said Kim, while tightening her leg torniquet
“I think it-it’s dying. It looks so sad. We need to decorate it! STAT!” – Jenny dashes into the forest. Her whereabouts are still unknown.
“My Ex-Girlfriend is a Literal Angel… A Fallen One!”
Yikes. We don’t envy you, dude. Good luck. Maybe stay single for a while.
“Ashley, You Can’t be a Line Cook and a Detective! Where’s your Husband?”
Mother, career woman, Ash does it all. She just wants a project for herself.
“I said you could adopt a cute puppy, like a goldendoodle. That Kujo-looking mut is hideous!”
Puppies aren’t for everyone, and they really can’t help the way they look or smell. Be kind.
“As it began to snow harder, Kyle realized he should’ve checked the weather before venturing into the woods. Instead of finding peace, he finds wolves.”
Good old man vs. nature theme right here. What happens next is up to you!
“After hours of decorating the Christmas tree, Jan decides that she is SO OVER silver and gold. Her husband quietly slips out the backdoor and begins to look for divorce lawyers on his iPhone.”
There are more important things in life than a professionally decorated tree, like the mental health of your spouse.
“Tyler wants to propose to his girlfriend, Nikki. But due to the price of diesel there haven’t been any flower deliveries in months. Tyler thinks about waiting to pop the question until Spring. Then he can just grow some red roses.”
Good, self-sustaining plan, Tyler. Bravo. But perhaps this is a universal sign that Nikki may not be THE ONE.
Kids Table Topics
I don’t get it.
You don’t get it.
Pikachu is just as confused.
But hey, try explaining Pogs to a millennial, “It’s like cardboard bitcoin and equally as sketchy.”
Imagination galore! My brother once built his own version of an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars. Beat that!
Barbie, a multiple career woman, dog owner and sister to Skipper, has always had her plate full. And to boot she did it in style—in heels!
Ah, the ole’ Batman vs Superman debate! But Batman didn’t have any superpowers… or did he?
From hamsters to goldfish, kitties and adorable puppies, kids love animals! This topic talks about itself.
Teenaged Card Table Talk
Who’s cute at school this year?
Duh. This discussion could go on forever, especially with girls, and we don’t need to encourage it, but alas here it is. Bonus if he’s pre-pre-med.
What’s the latest trend on TikTok? Is it some K-pop band with wicked dance moves and cool hair? The list goes on-and-on.
When will we get to sit at the grown-up table with real chairs?
When someone gets married or divorced (equal chances there), or dies. Sorry.
Tall boots and crop tops seem to be trending. Has anyone been to the mall lately? What did you see?
What gifts do you expect for Christmas?
There are four weeks until Christmas Eve and the suspense is killing you. What do you think is going to be wrapped under the tree?
Creative Christmas Ornament Challenge
Gather cotton balls, nail polish, Q-tips and one make up item. See what you can come up with.
Items Found in a Desk Drawer
Swipe 4 writing utensils, thumbtacks and chewing gum. Create.
Items From the Trunk of the Car
This depends on your car, but any paper items, emergency kits or snacks are fair game.
Garage Work Bench Items
Gather ten nuts and ten bolts of your choosing, glue, and string.
One bag of pasta, WD-40, paper towels and a well-ventilated room.
Descriptive Word Challenges (for those awake after 5pm not playing kick-the-can)
Canoes as described by space aliens
“Those are smooth and stealth floating devices equipped with cloaking capabilities. The walking ones use sticks to navigate liquids, for what we don’t know.” You try!
What makes penguins so happy?
It’s simple. These are flightless, awkward birds that are constantly mistaken for waiters or butlers. Where else is there to go in life but upwards? Go for it.
The Wizard of Oz if re-told by millennials
“Some poor girl from the Midwest gets picked up by a tornado and dropped someplace super colorful.
Then she totally steals some nice shoes off a dead lady. Gross. Next, she meets three weirdos in the woods who go on to find an even weirder dude in some green city. But the dog was cute.” – Janey, 25 working on her MBA
Try it yourself!
Happy Thanksgiving! Did we leave anything out? Does your family discuss some zany topics, too? Let us know!