San Jose

Carving the Tension Along With the Turkey on Thanksgiving

Stress during the holiday? It could happen.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, as if travelers weren't anxious enough about crowded airports and delayed flights, now they have a contentious political climate to consider when they sit down for turkey and trimmings.

Yes, for some families, Thanksgiving dinner will be served with a side of politics. After all, it may be the first time the whole family is together since one of the nastiest elections in recent memory.

"I'm not going to stir the pot again," said Terry Zhou, of San Jose, "so hopefully we don't have to talk about politics."

Indeed, some will be able to resist the temptation to debate with a roomful of relatives.

"Probably, with my family, yes, but for me, I'm just going to be silent," said Allison Smith, of Redwood City.

Others, meanwhile, won't shy away.

"You want to bring it up?" asked Rick Vierra, of Campbell. "I'll probably be able to resist for half the dinner, but not the whole thing."

For those who just have to get in their two cents, family therapist Milly Thomas has some advice.

"The most important thing is try and speak softly," she said.

Thomas adds there's no point in saying you're right or wrong to someone because everyone wants to have their voice heard. And if it gets heated?

"Stand up and say 'I really need to excuse myself, and I need to be respectful of not saying anything and hurting another person,'" Thomas said. "Then just go out for a smoke or a walk."

But some debators already have built-in alarms.

"Everytime I start to say something political, she'll look at me and point her finger at me, my wife," Vierra said.

It might help to just remember that you'll be back at the airport soon. To relax.

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