Holiday Resources

Check out some of our best guidelines for navigating family during the holidays

Friends and Family Tip Sheet

Holiday family gatherings can pose a unique challenge in this politically charged climate. Why? Because family is known for breaking host and guest social norms.  Because family knows each other’s triggers and because family relations often require more of us. Emotional stakes tend to be higher, conversations are colored by history and it can feel easier to take the proverbial gloves off and fight dirty, unconstrained by the politeness we give others. 
This tip sheet can help you use Living Room Conversations skills to practice loving and connecting with your family, even when you don’t like what they believe. 

Relationships over Politics Conversation Guide

Is it possible to use Living Room Conversations with our families and close friends? It is ultimately challenging, because family are more likely to break ‘host and guest’ social norms. The emotional stakes are higher, conversations are colored by long, deeply personal histories and it can feel easier to ‘take the gloves off’ and fight dirty, unconstrained by the politeness usually offered acquaintances. How might we hold the tension of our differences while working to repair connection and not further deepen division within our circle of family and friends?
All sorts of people tell us they want to use the skills they practice in Living Room Conversations to help restore connection with friends and family.  So, let’s use a Living Room Conversation to talk about just that!  This Living Room Conversation will help us listen and learn about where we have different opinions, along with shared ideas about how to best navigate time with family & friends (who may not share our view of the world).

Here's how to avoid family drama when talking politics over Thanksgiving dinner

With election day inching closer, politics will undoubtedly be a dish served hot during Thanksgiving dinner.

Disagreement can sour any party, but according to mediation expert Mary Gaylord, there are ways of tackling tough topics without a food fight.

Gaylord is the managing partner and program developer at Living Room Conversations, a U.S.-based non-profit that works to bridge divides on polarizing issues.

“I think people come to the realization that they’re out of practice of listening to somebody else; listening to somebody who has a different point of view. We, kind of, set up in our culture this pro-con binary,” she said in an interview.

Ahead of turkey dinner, Checkup asked Gaylord how to keep political chatter positive — and keep everyone at the table until pie is served.

Thanks for Listening! Podcast

A new podcast from Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program

In this first episode of Thanks for Listening, we’ll look at politics around the Thanksgiving table—the start of a long month of family gatherings and meals to celebrate the holidays.
This podcast will spotlight efforts to bridge the political divide in the U.S. through dialogue and collaborative processes, profiling the important and often courageous work of individuals and organizations who are helping citizens engage with one another on challenging topics. 

Listen: Righteousness or Relationships? Podcast

Disagreeing about what is right and good (or wrong and bad) can be challenging.  Our culture has evolved to reward winners and dismiss losers. Our biology rewards us with dopamine when we are right – and then we want more. Is it any wonder that we all want to be “right” and on the winning team? But relationships are not a game to count the number of times we are right and declare a winner. What is the actual cost to our relationships when we fall into the right/wrong game? And how can we step out of the right/wrong paradigm to explore what’s really important to – and enlivens – us all?