Thanksgiving is here and many people are filled with dread to reunite with family members out of fear that they'll have to talk politics over turkey. Nothing is more rage-provoking than the 2016 tire fire election, and many would choose almost any other topic to discuss than Hillary vs. Trump for the umpteenth time. To avoid turning your Thanksgiving dinner into an IRL-version of your Facebook wall, opt for these stories instead.

They're still controversial. They still may cause a mashed potato-slinging fight. But at least they have nothing to do with the election.

1. Everyone died this year.

Okay, not everyone. But a lot of really important people and beloved celebrities died. In case you forgot, here is an expedited "In Memoriam" segment for you. Just imagine "My Way" by Frank Sinatra being played softly in the background.


Alan Rickman. David Bowie. Natalie Cole. Prince. Alexis Arquette. Gene Wilder. Anton Yelchin. Muhammad Ali. Hodor. Okay, yes, technically Hodor is a fictional character, but don't pretend that didn't hurt like hell.

Don't even get me started on this guy.
Don't even get me started on this guy.

2. Celebs were accused of cultural appropriation A LOT this year.

It is likely that many people in your family either have never heard of or don't believe in cultural appropriation, which makes it a very fun topic to bring up. A lot of celebrities have appropriated other cultures this year. Most of them were Kardashians.


First, Khloe Kardashian wore faux locs from Marc Jacobs:

Then Khloe wore bantu knots:

I like this one better

A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

Little sis Kylie Jenner also wore a wig that gave her braids:


A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on


Amy Schumer was accused of appropriating black culture with what she called a tribute to Beyoncé's "Formation" video—and getting defensive about it:


A post shared by @amyschumer on

People got pissed when Vanessa Hudgens wore a dreamcatcher on her head:

Chin up, Princess... Or the crown slips 👑 #monday @riawnacapri @beautycoach_com

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And Justin Bieber was called out for braiding his hair AND getting locs this year. Come on, guys. Will none of you ever earn?


Have a ball trying to explain to your racist Uncle Richard the complexities of appreciating a culture versus adopting it. Bonus points if you also talk about white privilege.

3. Brangelina went back to just being "Brad" and "Angelina."

This year proved that everything we thought we knew was a lie. I, for one, thought that ​Anthony Weiner learned his lesson about sexting the first time, Vine would be around forever, and Brangelina would never break up. I'm three for three here, people.


Furthermore, Brad Pitt was investigated for child abuse following the couple's divorce announcement. Such a sad, disturbing end to the couple that was supposed to be together forever.


4. The girl who voices Dora the Explorer was caught vaping in the bathroom.

RIP innocence.


Back in April, then-19-year-old Fatima Ptacek and another student were caught vaping in the bathroom of Avenues, a private school in Manhattan. Fatima got off the hook while her friend was expelled, resulting in a lawsuit for preferential against the school.

Ay Dios mio.

5. Harambe.

On May 28th, Harambe, a silverback gorilla, was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a small boy fell into his enclosure. At first, the world mourned Harambe's premature death. Then they turned him into a meme.


Although it is not entirely clear if being memorialized as a meme is a compliment or not, Harambe is still a super fun conversation starter. As some weird teen once said, "We have to take shots for him. He took shots for us." Say that to your grandpa, he will love it!

Go on. Bring him up at Thanksgiving. Do it for Harambe.

5. That time hundreds of people tuned in to a live stream of eagles eating a dead kitten.

Nature dazzled us all as hundreds of people watched two bald eagles pick apart a dead kitten, thanks to a live cam set up by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Could there be a more fitting metaphor for 2016?


Warning: actual lifeless baby cat being dismembered by hungry eagles below.

What would make better dinner conversation than giving the explicit details on this incident?

6. Brexit is probably worth mentioning.

You may be so preoccupied with our own personal national crisis that you have forgotten of England's national crisis that happened back in June.


Brexit was the cute name given to signify Great Britain divorcing from the European Union. (Get it? Britain + exit = Brexit! It's the "Brangelina" of the demise of the union put in place to protect families working abroad!)

Fueled by nationalism, xenophobia and racism, pro-Brexit leaders like Nigel Farage used propaganda, anti-immigrate rhetoric and hate speech to encourage voters to opt to leave the EU. Sound familiar?

He literally called himself that once.
He literally called himself that once.

On second thought, maybe don't bring this one up.


7. Harry Styles cut his hair.

Here is something lighter than Brexit but equally as British. One Direction boy bander Harry Styles cut his luxurious hair this year. This is definitely the worst thing that happened in 2016. Oh, for sure.

Whoops. #Littleprincesstrust

A post shared by @harrystyles on

Believe it or not, thousands of emotionally unstable teens mourned loss of Harry's ponytail as if a loved one died. Priorities.


The good news is if we made it through that, we can make it through anything.

8. The Ghostbusters remake made people way angrier than it should have.

Who knew that the freakin' all-female Ghostbusters remake would be just as controversial as the election this year?! Let's just start off by saying this: there are a lot of other things more worth your anger than Melissa McCarthy killing ghosts.

The backlash from the movie even resulted in one of the film's stars, Leslie Jones, being harassed and hacked online. Racist hackers not only continually abused her via Twitter, but they accessed her personal information and photos and leaked them online.


But sure, bring up this up to someone in your family who thinks a movie reboot that no one forced them to see is responsible for ruining their childhood. See what happens.

9. Brock Turner's short jail sentence was an outrage.

One of the most blood-boiling topics of the year was when Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, only served 90 days out of his six-month sentence in prison. Turner, a Stanford student, was caught raping an unconscious woman behind a Dumpster, but the judge decided to go easy on him to avoid the "severe impact" an appropriate jail sentence could have on him.


Still, friends and family members rushed to his defense. Turner's father claimed that his sentence was too harsh for '20 minutes of action.'

Hopefully if you bring this story up at Thanksgiving your entire family, no matter where they align politically, will agree: this guy is scum.