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Holiday Conversation Starters

Enjoying time with family or friends over the holidays is one of the best parts of the season, but sometimes it can be tricky to come up topics to keep the conversation flowing. Even I sometimes struggle to find things to talk about with my family (or my boyfriend’s family) when we are together for long periods of time.

To help maximize the joy this season, below are some tips and conversation starters that you can use for these occasions.

1. Come up with a few stories from the last year that you can tell to the group. Some ideas are funny experiences, travel (like visiting a national park), something interesting that happened at work, a class you are taking, or even a success story (like earning an award or gaining a new client).

One story I’ve been telling this year is how I drove to see my boyfriend in Fort Collins and got a flat tire on the way up. Later that same day, he drove me right back through Colorado Springs to take me on a surprise birthday trip to Victor, CO to stay in a haunted hotel. All the anguish of the flat tire situation could have been avoided! That story has a challenge, humor, despair, and joy - this makes it a lighthearted and relatable story to tell at gatherings.

2. Be curious about others. Ask them about their travels, successes, and fun this year. Did they get into any hobbies? Do they have any plans for the new year? What are their fun stories?

3. Talk about some pop culture topics. Find something that has happened recently and read an article about it. Try to make it something joyful or lighter. The news typically has negative information, but there are always good things happening around the world as well. To bring this up, you can say to the group, “did you hear about XYZ? What do you all think of that?” Usually there is someone who has and someone who hasn’t heard of the topic, so you can take turns explaining the circumstance and then chat about the situation.

4. Come up with a quick summary of books, podcasts, magazine articles, shows, or recipes that you’ve read recently.

My mom and grandma love to talk about books with me and so we always trade information about the best books we’ve read. My brother and I talk a lot about recipes, cookbooks, and food shows. I always have questions and knowledge specifically for these kinds of conversations. Some of my extended family enjoys board games and we have had fun chats about that.

5. Ask questions about family history. You would be surprised by the amazing tales you hear about ancestors and relatives. Have a few questions in mind to ask and be sure to use statements like, “tell me more” when you are listening. These are great icebreakers because other family members usually like hearing the stories and asking questions, too.

I always have great conversations with my grandma about growing up and her large Polish family. My uncle is the “historian” on my dad’s side, having done so much research about our family lines, so he can go on for days about our ancestors back to the 1600s.

6. Bring activities to the party. Activities could be going for a walk, playing a game, decorating cookies or gingerbread houses, or even having a beer/wine/bourbon tasting.

As I mentioned before, my extended family loves board games. Some of the best times I’ve had with my family has been when we play these games together. It gets everyone involved and we laugh a lot.

Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the precious moments with family, old friends and new friends!

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