What’s not to love about Thanksgiving? (Unless you’re the host, that is.) You get to sit around the table with all of your loved ones, feasting on delicious family recipes and enjoying effortless, loving banter with your intelligent, attractive, successful family, right? Right?!
Okay. So let’s say at least one part of that equation is true: that you’re definitely sitting around a table with (mostly) loved ones, plus a few extras. (Who is cousin Mark’s girlfriend, again? And that is Great-Uncle Larry, right? Or is it Great-Uncle Barry…?) And while you can’t do anything about Aunt Marge’s sweet-potato pie with marshmallows on top (except take a “no thank you” portion), you can help steer the conversation in a more interesting direction.
Behold: 20 conversation starters for Thanksgiving dinner! We’re not promising they won’t start an argument—but hey, at least it’ll be interesting, right?
Who did you vote for this year? And how do you really feel about others on the ballot?
Kidding!! We’re totally kidding. (Unless you’re a total masochist. Then go right ahead.) Instead, try issuing a challenge: Without referring to anyone on the actual presidential ballot for 2016, who in the world would make the best president, and why?
What would you do differently if you could erase the past 5 years and start over?
(Perhaps avoid asking the cousin with four-year-old triplets this question.) But seriously: that’s a good chunk of time. What would you change?
If you could have named yourself, what name would you pick, and why?
This is your chance to shine, Herbert!
If you could resurrect one flavor from the Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard, what would it be?
Honestly, we’re still mourning Vermonty Python, with its coffee liqueur ice cream, chocolate cookie crumb swirl and fudge cows. (But what’s that you say? Is it dead, or isn’t it?) Sadly, it is. But it still gets our vote! What about you?
And (flip side!), if you could send one flavor straight to the Flavor Graveyard, what would it be?
*Bonus points if you can make up a witty epitaph for it.
What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you this year?
We’re still pretty psyched about teaming up with New Belgium Brewing on Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, a deliciously decadent ale inspired by Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream! Pint for pint, that one takes the cake (err, ice cream?) for us. What about you?
What’s one way we can each help fight climate change?
We really, really don’t like having meltdowns. That’s why Ben & Jerry’s is actively involved in fighting for climate justice and reducing the environmental impact of our business. (Pssst! Need some ideas? We’ve got plenty.)
So! What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
Tuck this one in your back pocket for when the party starts getting a little heated. Appropriately bland, easy to answer and (hopefully) positive, this one is a great conversation-neutralizer. Switzerland, people. Be ready.
What’s your favorite way to waste time?
Note: The person who brags that they “never waste time” has to do the dishes. All of them.
What’s your favorite way to eat leftover turkey?
Alas, Miz Jelena’s Sweet Potato Pie is in the Flavor Graveyard, chillin’ with all of those turkey leftovers from last year that you didn’t know what to do with. Get it together, guys.
Have you ever saved an animal’s life? What about a person’s life?
Someone give the mic to Great-Uncle Alfred, please. He’s got a story to tell.
What’s your most useless talent?
(Side note: wait—Uncle Brian can wiggle his ears?! How does he even do that?) Also, be prepared for demonstrations.
If you could choose only one dish on the Thanksgiving table to eat for a year, what would it be?
Stuffing, stuffing, stuffing! …But seriously. Why do we even bother cooking a turkey again? Oh yeah! To stuff it. With … stuffing! How ‘bout you?
Do you lick an ice-cream cone clockwise or counterclockwise? Bottom to top? Top to bottom?
Also, you might consider buying some ice-cream cones and some pints of Ben & Jerry’s to keep in the freezer if you’re going to ask this question. Because this one is just crying out for a test-case scenario.
Whistle or hum your favorite song, and see if the table can guess what it is.
If you’re too shy to sing, act it out. No one gets a “no thank you” helping on this question—because it always produces hilarious results.
What flavor combo would you love Ben & Jerry’s to make?
Trust us. Nothing you suggest will surprise us. We’ve gotten some pretty weird ones over the years. (See: Mac and Freeze.)
What’s your best idea to help people be kinder to each other?
Feel free to start humming “All We Need is Love” and start handing out bowls of ice cream. We approve.
Give us your best ideas for the perfect first date.
You’re welcome, incredibly awkward teenage cousin. You can thank us later.
If you had the power to make up a new national holiday, when would it be, and what would it celebrate?
Umm, hello, Free Cone Day!
And finally, when was the last time you had a food fight?
WAIT! Maybe save that one for after the table is cleared…
We really hope these topics help you navigate your way through the minefields of Thanksgiving dinner—but if not, there’s always Friendsgiving next year, right?