What are the Top 8 Family Feuds During Thanksgiving?

November 16, 2023

Thanksgiving, the pinnacle of family togetherness, often becomes a battleground for relatives armed with clashing opinions and quirky personalities. Picture this: a feast set with a beautiful bird becomes a diplomatic war zone as Aunt Sue’s political rants collide head-on with Uncle Bob’s conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the pressure to create a Norman Rockwell-esque atmosphere leads to comedic chaos in the kitchen, with everyone attempting their best culinary acrobatics. Yet family togetherness can quickly turn south. We see it in our conference room all the time. A family joyfully arrives to finally get their estate planning started, only to discover that everyone has a different opinion. Not to mention this is the first time this topic has been discussed. We advise against that. The best time to discuss estate planning and mom and dad’s Will is when the whole family is gathered together, in good spirits, with no hungry bellies. A/K/A the Thanksgiving holiday.

Now that you know what topic should be brought up at the table, let us present you with 8 comedic rants of the most common family arguments during the holidays. In a very non-scientific survey conducted in 2011 by Harris Interactive, involving 2,000+ online respondents, Thanksgiving emerged as the second-favorite holiday among adults, with Christmas taking the lead. Adding to this, a 2010 iVillage poll revealed that 65 percent of participants expected a family disagreement during Thanksgiving. There are sooo many reasons for family feuds, here are the best (or worst) depending on how you see it.

1. What Time Should We Eat? The simple act of picking a time frame when to over-eat apparently sends shivers down some spines. Some families insist on eating at noon, while others do not even put the turkey in the oven until 3 p.m. This can cause a lot of tension, especially if you have a diabetic or small children in the family. Do understand that some people plan their meals out down to the minute and any deterrence from a schedule may cause agitation.

2. Can I Bring My New Significant Other? Including a new significant other in the celebration can lead to complications because, let’s face it, predicting the longevity of a relationship is tricky. If you are genuinely convinced that your relationship has a future, then, by all means, bring your new flame. However, introducing a new partner during this predominantly family-centric holiday might not be the best timing. It is essentially one person against the entire clan, and the presence of alcohol can erode the usual inhibitions that help maintain harmony.

3. I Failed Out Of College/Got Fired. There is a temptation to use the joy of the season to your advantage when you have less than desirable news to share. Foolish move. Maybe wait until Black Friday to share your bad news; at least your family can resort to retail therapy at Target.

4. Divorce/Pregnancy As with your Aunt Linda coming out of the closet, bringing up any big news over a plate of mashed yams is going to bring up some heat, and we are not referring to the meat thermometer. News about a divorce can be distressing, particularly when the couple is not present together to share the news. However, announcing “I am pregnant” can be even tougher, especially if the prospective mother is not married or engaged, leading to a potentially heated old-fashioned argument.

5. Politics/Religion/All Taboo Subject Matter. Politics and family gatherings are an unusual pairing, akin to mixing gravy and pumpkin pie —individually delightful, but a less than appetizing combination. Certain topics like politics, religion, and sex are better left untouched. Refrain from broaching these subjects; your elders may not grasp your political views or comprehend why you no longer attend church. On this special day, enjoy the moment without stirring up any contentious discussions.

6. Grandma/Dad/You Drinks Too Much Few things lead to more discord than a group of intoxicated individuals oblivious to their level of inebriation. Worse yet is when someone is a genuine alcoholic, and the rest of the family is aware but cannot say anything. As comical as grandma getting tipsy and spilling her wine may seem, it undoubtedly will put a damper on your holiday feast.

7. Money, Dinero, Rubles, Yuan! Like politics and religion, money is another base root to holiday topics of evil. Studies have shown that married couples argue over money more than any other subject. Thanksgiving just happens to be the kick-off day to Black Friday and holiday shopping. Try as you might, a big blow up over money may just happen, especially if one of your family members prefers an organic turkey and the rest do not.

8. I Am Not Hungry/Stop Putting Food on my Plate There are several cultural stigmas over empty plates or too little consumption during a family feast. It is bizarre but may be traced back to an older generation that faced challenges in accessing enough food during their youth. Now they feel food must be appreciated and celebrated. ALL OF IT.

In the end, Thanksgiving serves up not just a feast but a hearty dose of comedic drama, reminding us that imperfection and eccentricity are the secret ingredients to a memorable family gathering. While avoiding certain topics, remember that estate planning, and discussing the aging process of our parents and grandparents is essential to maintaining the family harmony for years to come. Allow us to alleviate some of the burdens associated with preparing for your golden years. Our exclusive focus lies in estate planning, ensuring you peace of mind regarding the welfare of your family once you are no longer here. Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or info@ocestatelawyers.com to get started with your free consultation. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.