"Not Hot" Topics for the Holiday Dinner Table

Ready or not, the holidays are here! Strings of colored lights brighten quaint neighborhoods, decorated wreaths hang fondly from front doors, and the rich, piney scent of Christmas trees carries on enticing gusts through the winter air. If you’re lucky enough to live in a mountainous region, a crisp blanket of fresh fallen snow might accentuate the festive landscape.

After the commotion of shopping, decorating, and gift wrapping subsides, the time comes for family to gather. Whether you’ve cooked a decadent holiday meal or you’ve opted for the simpler potluck approach, soon everyone will join together around the table and annual festivities commence. The burning question on everyone’s mind: Where will the conversation lead? Will your brother say something crass enough to make Grandma visibly cringe? Perhaps there’s still a rift between your uncles over last year’s political debate that they’ve deliberately seated themselves at opposite ends of the table

Dining table decorated for the holidays

One thing we all have in common is that we can’t choose our family. When you bring a group of people together from varying generations, backgrounds, and beliefs, there’s bound to be fundamental differences. The goal is to get through the holidays without any angry outbursts —but what can you talk about that won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers? Politics and religion are obviously off the table — and small talk only goes so far. Luckily, there’s one thing everyone has in common this time of the year: The winter season. And while not everyone is bound to be interested in winter sports, the shared season is something most of us have opinions on. Here at UtahSkis, we’ve compiled some topics for the holiday dinner table we’re sure to stir the conversation — without resulting in a family feud.

The Weather (No, We’re Not Joking)

Although touted the sovereign of small talk, of all the seasons, winter is most likely to incite interesting conversation. The colder weather causes varying degrees of joy and headache in most places around the world. Especially when you bring people together from different locations and add in the travel factor, it’s more likely than not most of your family members will have something to say on the matter.

Try polling everyone on the snowfall in their respective areas or ask the group to share their funniest travel stories. Did any of the kids get out and have snowball fights? Maybe your sister’s new puppy experienced snow for the first time, resulting in a YouTube-worthy video of Fido falling gracelessly into a snowdrift (let’s be real — it’s hard to go wrong with a funny animal video).

Winter Sports

Group of kids being pulled on a sled

While the adrenaline-pumping discussions will ensue among the more avid shredders and skiers at the table, it’s likely many of your family members enjoy partaking in some form of winter sport. Depending on your location, consider broadening your definition to include more fringe winter activities such as sledding, snow skating — or even skijoring (family of farmers?).

However your relatives enjoy spending time outside, there’s likely a trough of funny stories waiting to be uncovered.

Discounts & Deals

Shopping and buying gifts are two things most families share during the holiday season. It’s the time of the year when people spend the most money — and includes some of the best opportunities to find good deals. Everyone appreciates knowing where to find a good deal — so open up the table to sharing your inside buying tips.

If you’re into buying winter gear, UtahSkis is currently running its annual holiday sale. You can find up to 60% percent off of ski and snowboard clothing, including popular brands like The North Face, Wigwam, Giro, and Smith. What’s more? You receive free shipping on orders over $75.

Holiday dinner table setting

A Few Tips & Tricks

Having some non-controversial conversation starters on hand is a surefire way to start out a feud-free holiday dinner, but keep in mind these helpful hints:

-Once you start a conversation, remember that listening is generally more effective than actually adding to the dialogue. Many people converse in the fashion of waiting for their chance to speak — so rather than stealing their spotlight, consider stoking their impassioned contributions with thoughtful questions and precisely timed encouragement.

-Unless there are legitimate family reasons not to, lubricating the mood with a modest amount of libations is a great way to keep conversations calm.
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