As the holiday season encroaches, the inevitable gathering of friends and family reminds us of all that we’re thankful for—and all that we’re not. Even in times of plenty, there’s want for wisdom on how to deal with turbulent dinner discussions, charitable giving and beyond. Below, a little help.
TABLING THE ISSUE
Every year, my sister dominates Thanksgiving dinner conversation by regurgitating baiting opinions I know she pulled from Twitter (#GOPtempertantrum). How do I call her on it so that I can enjoy my heritage turkey in peace?
My trick for ceasing all talk of politics at the dinner table is to serve actual green eggs and ham to anyone daring to bring up such current blights as, say, affordable healthcare and equal pay for equal work. The holidays are a time of hope! As for your plagiaristically-inclined sister, normally I’d encourage you to call on powers of humiliation to end the charade, but it’s the holidays. Just toss her smartphone in the latrine instead.
I know they say I should be giving 10 percent of my earnings to a philanthropic cause, but I’d rather put the money towards a wild Siberian sable coat for my upcoming Antarctic cruise. I’ve worked hard this year. Is that wrong?
Giving to charity isn’t necessarily the ethical choice and, in fact, there are plenty of charities that aren’t effective, or worse. But giving money away does tend to engender warm fuzzy feelings in the giver, something it sounds like your beady little heart could use. What’s more, in the best cases, charity can bring about real change in the world, unlike a dead Russian draped over your shoulders, which, really, just brings change to that sad little animal. So, no, it’s not wrong to give nothing but a lump of coal to those less fortunate. Just totally, wholly evil.
We always ask the same friends to join us for New Year’s at our house on St. Croix. And every year they bring a gift that’s more worthless than the year before. Last year, it was a used cookbook (looks like the carbonara was a fave). The year before, a box of wine. I’d rather they bring nothing. How do I make that happen?
Terrible, awful friends wanting to show their gratitude. Where are their manners? Oh, wait. Listen: If you enjoy their company enough to spend time away with them (more than once), presumably you have more in common than tastes in gifts. Let them say thanks in whatever way they know how, then regift to an organization dedicated to helping families in need. Except, of course, for the box of wine. That you can bring to me.