Topics Around the Tree: Try To Keep It Civil

December 21, 2010

By Eric Ward

The 2010 MP&F Holiday survey revealed recently that Tennesseans would rather talk sports with their families during the holidays instead of the always-interesting topics of politics and religion.

John Calipari is one leader the entire family is behind.

No surprise here. My Kentucky-based family consists of Democrats and Republicans, Obama-haters and Obama-lovers; but we can all agree that when the month of March rolls around, we need John Calipari’s leadership ability more than that of any president. We have daily church-goers and we have some who haven’t been in years. But we can all agree that Mike Krzyzewski is the devil. And even our blue-collar and white-collar workers agree – orange is the ugliest color in the rainbow.

In fact, the topics of religion and politics are nearly forbidden near the turkey or the Christmas tree during my family’s holiday season. That is, unless you can make a statement that is unanimously agreed-upon. For example:

Tennessee orange and Bruce Pearl are unanimously unpopular in my household.

“The economy is garbage.”

Perfect. We all agree.

But make any political or religious statement that takes a position, and you can consider the party over.

“Obama needs to extend the Bush tax-cuts or the economy will get even worse.”

Boom. The fireworks commence

Combative uncle’s face slowly turns beet-red. Perpetually supportive aunt praises, “Amen.” Rhodes-scholar cousin’s ears perk at the perfect opportunity to unleash his nationally recognized knowledge. Babies cry, rolls catch on fire and Grandma, well … Grandma didn’t hear a thing so she’s OK.

Granted, this is a made-up (and exaggerated) scenario. But I can only imagine how political debate could quickly go from civil to divisive at one of my family gatherings. Therefore, like the sports-minded 39 percent of Tennesseans, my family has chosen sports as a topic we can all enjoy together during a time when enjoying one another is of utmost importance.

So whether it’s sports, politics, religion, the latest episode of the “Dancing with the Stars” or basket-weaving, try to find a topic to discuss during the holidays that doesn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers. It’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.”


One Response to “Topics Around the Tree: Try To Keep It Civil”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Not going to lie – any legitimate PR-related blog post that takes a dig at UT is alright in my book!

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