Americans know all too well that Thanksgiving is a risky time of year.
Family members travel hundreds of miles to see one another, sitting down for lunch with relatives they may only encounter once or twice a decade.
Add to this some apple cider cocktails, long-standing feuds and sibling rivalries, and the results can be explosive.
As November 23 approaches, the number of people tapping ‘Thanksgiving fight’ into their search bar has risen precipitously.
Social media users predict trouble on America’s national holiday.
How to spoil a lovely meal: don’t debate politics or thorny family issues with dad or gran
Dads and grandpas are among the riskiest characters at a family Thanksgiving feast, polling shows
‘Which topic do you think would result in a blow up fight with family members at Thanksgiving?’ asked Jeff Dornik, an author, on X on Tuesday.
Those responding suggested Covid-19 vaccines, pre-martial sex and whether Donald Trump won the 2020 election, as the former president falsely asserts.
‘I’ll be at my in-laws,’ replied a user known as Atom.
‘Anything to do with protecting children from pedophiles and the trans movement causes a nuclear reaction.’
A survey from USA TODAY Blueprint shows they are right to worry.
The poll of 2,000 adults found that only 12 percent said their family never got into rows.
More than half — 51 percent — said ‘family issues’ were the most likely cause of a bust-up.
Politics came second. Fully 48 percent of respondents said hot-button issues in current affairs pushed relatives over the edge.
Social media users shared this comical image about politics derailing a family Thanksgiving dinner
That’s no surprise. Some families have rules against discussing politics at Thanksgiving.
America is careening into an election that will most likely replay the disputed 2020 face-off between President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump.
If that doesn’t get relatives rowing, then the war between Israel and Hamas could.
Other no-go conversation areas include money (identified by 47 percent of respondents), children and parenting techniques (37 percent) and religion (29 percent).
Researchers at OnePoll also found that, within families, some characters are more likely to get into a rumble than others.
‘When there’s an argument, Dad is usually at the center of it,’ said a report on the survey.
Some 38 percent of respondents said their fathers were the most likely quarreler.
Others opted for grandma (36 percent), grandpa (32 percent), an aunt (31 percent), their mom (27 percent), or an uncle (23 percent).
Even a well-cooked turkey doesn’t save every Thanksgiving dinner
This year’s holiday could be particularly tense thanks to travel chaos.
Fully 55.4 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles to be with family this year, AAA forecasts, many of then getting stuck on clogged highways on Wednesday, the busiest travel day.
Millions more are expected to hit airports, where bad weather and flight delays looks set to cause misery.
Experts offer plenty of tips on how to stop a family gathering from descending into a brawl.
Many suggest having ground rules against debating politics and setting them in advance of the holiday.
Others say that it’s good to tackle weighty issues, but to do so with empathy, understanding and by hearing out your interlocutor.
Most agree that using sarcasm or lobbing insults around is not a good recipe for success at turkey-time.
And, if the conversation becomes tense or awkward, it might be best to pull the plug on it and move on to desert.
USA TODAY Blueprint’s survey was conducted online from November 2-3 and has an error margin of 2.2 percentage points.