Let's be real here: Even in the best of times, heading home for the holidays can be anxiety-inducing. All those relatives you see once or twice a year, suddenly converging around a single table to hash out family updates and "what's new with you"? I'm already tuckered out thinking about it, and that's not the tryptophan talking.
But in 2016, there's another layer of stress that might be looming over your Thanksgiving plans. As we're all more than aware, our nation just elected a new president. If you're anything like me, you're still devastated about the outcome and don't anticipate the gloom letting up anytime soon.
Or maybe you're nothing like me: The guy who got your vote won, so you're feeling hopeful about what the next four years could bring — but you're also worried about what your diehard liberal cousin will do when you ask her to pass the mashed potatoes.
My dad used to say that there's a reason politics aren't invited to the dinner table. I'm not entirely sure I agree. But I do know that this year, invited or not, they'll probably show up anyway. Add some spiced, spiked cider to that mix and you've got a recipe for a potential holiday meltdown.
The thing is, your relatives will still be your relatives long after someone else takes over the Oval Office, and preserving those relationships might, in the end, be more important than politics. But what do you do when you know your family is split along bipartisan lines, and you're just not equipped to deal? We've got some ideas: for neutralizing certain lines of conversation, for politely standing your ground, and for how to decide when to bow out instead of blowing up.
So let's take a deep breath and talk about the options at your disposal for surviving this holiday season. We're going to get through this one — together.