Surviving Thanksgiving after Decision 2016

(Johnny/Flickr Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, this Thanksgiving comes after an election that was contentious, some even say traumatic.

It may be more challenging this year than ever keeping an unwanted guest from the Thanksgiving feast — the raging political argument.

“I have family members who voted Trump, the majority I know voted Hillary, but that’s fine we have to accept that we are still family,” said Daniel Rodriguez who lives in Wymoing.

Rodriguez was at Rosa Parks Circle for a “Not My President Rally” that ended early in part because of the weather. He said he and his family have strong feelings that will have to be put aside in the name of peace at the table.

“Just being around the table we know the conversation’s going to be politics,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to ask the family — please do not bring up politics as long as we’re at the table.”

But that is not going to work for everyone.

“Not in my family, we put all that out there,” said Kyle, a Grand Rapids resident attending a Griffins game Friday night. He said that doesn’t always end with everyone being cool with the opposing opinions “Oh no, they’re not cool with it. It’s all out there and we talk pretty openly about it all.”

Jim Bottenhorn is a psychologist who specializes in stress, grief and anger management.

“I think we should all be prepared for extra stress,” Bottenhorn said. “Maybe even more so than the normal stress of getting together one a year or maybe twice a year.”

He says you can only control what you do.

“Kind of be mindful of how you’re doing and if you’re getting upset, you can detach, like take a time out,” he said. “Would you rather be right or happy? Let’s have fun and y’know, be respectful of everyone here.”

He says avoiding the topic makes sense.

“Sending out an email to everybody just saying ‘hey, let’s just remember that when we get together, no religion, no politics,’” Bottenhorn said.

It might be a time to move past the hard feelings generated by the election.

“I think people might be looking for some time to not talk about it and just stuff their faces if they can,”said Jim a Cleveland native at the Griffins game.

If you are looking to argue, there is a text message hotline from the group “Showing Up for Racial Justice” that will send you arguments to use against Trump-supporters.

The conservative magazine American Spectator has a section “How to survive Thanksgiving with Liberals” which is nothing but recipes for cocktails.

Of course if that fails, there’s always Adele.


Find Jim Bottenhorn at