25 helpful and hilarious tips for surviving a stressful post-election Thanksgiving.

Just when you thought you might have a little break from all the anxiety created by this election year, Thanksgiving has appeared on the horizon.

As if the holiday that already boasts extra-high levels of stress due to travel and cooking mass quantities of food wasn't enough, the divisiveness that's been caused by this election has polarized friends and families in unprecedented ways.

With less than two weeks for us to process our feelings (because the universe likes to torture us), many of us will have to face those loved ones across a dinner table with only a cooked bird and roasted root vegetables to protect us.


Wouldn't it be great if you had a handy guide to help you navigate the sticky situations that might arise?

Well, this year, you will! Upworthy reached out to our readers to find out how they plan to deal with uncomfortable political conversations when they arise at the Thanksgiving table. Hundreds of responses poured in, and we compiled the best ones for you.

Here are 25 ways people are navigating their Thanksgiving plans this year:

(Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

1. "Focus on commonalities. Focus on positives. Plan topic ideas to bring up. Maybe ban political talk." — David Bishop/Twitter.

2. "Try to only say statements reasonable people should agree with: We need unity. People deserve equality and fairness." — Chris Blue/Twitter.

3. "Consider having a compassionate meal with friends instead. You don't have to go." — @Aviatrixt/Twitter.

Photo via iStock.

4. "For today, I'd rather have a good amicable relationship with them than be 'right' or 'win.' Because for a while there, our differences robbed us of being able to come together as a family. So there are things I won't engage with them about to maintain my own peace." — Alesandra Nahodil/Facebook.

5. "Just don't go. Stick with people you actually like. I don't understand why people keep up toxic relationships just because it's family and you think you have to. You don't." — Michelle Edgar/Facebook.

6. "I planned to host it at my house this year, however, the last time my family was together they tried to tell me the holocaust was a hoax... so I'm volunteering to feed the homeless instead!" — Mary Jordan/Facebook.

GIF via "SNL."

7. "I think this might be the year to have those conversations. We need to talk about what is going on, on a very personal level. If you are concerned about the racial hatred going on right now, you need to show that to your people — your family." — Louise Woletz-Hinz/Facebook.

8. "Kindly explain to them that they've been duped by a racist narcissist sociopath who will conspire with elites to make their condition worse." — Christopher R Walker/Twitter.

9. "Let the grandkids lecture the grandparents. It's devastatingly effective." — Hesiod Theogeny/Twitter.

10. "My plan is to simply not discuss politics at Thanksgiving. I won't bring it up and if anyone else does, I'll just leave the room." — Carrie Wiese/Facebook.

11. "Believe it or not, you CAN have healthy, functional and genuinely loving relationships with people who you don't agree with...Your beliefs are your own, and you are more likely to change a person's mind about something by being kind and being able to lightly and politely discuss things without getting emotionally charged." — Courtney Jonnae Hogan/Facebook.

12. "When it's being pushed, I simply say, 'We know we disagree with each other. I'd like to move on.' It may sound like weakness to some, but I've experienced more peace that way." — Jenn Visconti Stegman/Facebook.

13. "My general thoughts are that listening is needed to diffuse conservative fear and anger." — Matthew Troy-Regier/Twitter.

14. "Anyone wanting to talk about the election has to participate in a Hamilton style cabinet debate. No one except for the Hamilton fans can pull off a rap. So I think we'll be ok." — Amy Napier/Facebook.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

15. "Listen underneath 'who the enemy is' to what they really want, what they are really afraid of...because that's where there's a lot more common ground than we realize." — Zahava Griss/Facebook direct message.

17. "Do what I do:
Cousin: You're an embarrassment to the country for how you've acted about losing the election!
Me: LOOK the dog is humping the cat ISN'T THAT INTERESTING?!" — Cara Siegel/Facebook.

18. "Don't take the bait. This is going to be my mantra." — @krista225/Twitter.

19. "No politics at family gatherings. Talk about what we're grateful for, outside of the political arena." — Lisbeth Pierce/Twitter.

20. "Step 1: open Scotch." — @aplayonsarcasm/Twitter.

21. "Make sure dinner is so delicious they never stop chewing." — Linda Salazar/Twitter.

22. "I think it's important not to live in a bubble and an echo chamber which we often see on social media...Sometimes you just have to listen. If someone starts being irrational, throw facts and data at them. Be as dispassionate as you can." — Jason Nellis, via phone interview.

23. "Money Jar. Anyone who mentions anything to do with politics or government has to put $ in the jar. The fines increase every time the rule is broken." — Nicole Piazza/Facebook. (Note: Consider donating the money to a good cause!)

24. "I am using the line 'I have my pen and paper in hand ready to write down all the great things he does for all the citizens of this country including the elderly, working/middle class folks of all religions and nationalities.'" — Sheryl Friedrichs Byrnes/Facebook.

25. "I plan to say 'Let's find something better to talk about it.' As the hostess, you totally get to drive where the conversation goes. I didn't spend all those years watching Downton Abbey and not learn about having parties." — Courtney Widney/Facebook.

GIF via "Downton Abbey."

Of course, there's not a magical Thanksgiving solution that will work for all families — every family is different.

What may work great for one family could blow up in the faces of another. And yes, many of these tips aren't serious because humor is often the best way to cope in times like these (see "SNL's" "Thanksgiving Miracle" sketch). Sometimes, it's the only the thing that can bring everyone together, if only for a few minutes.

You don't have to bridge the gap between family members with opposing views for this Thanksgiving to be a good one. It's just about making it through without incurring too much emotional, mental, or — god forbid — physical damage.

And if that means bowing out this year, that's OK too. There's always next year ... or four years from now.

via KTLA 5 / YouTube

A little after 7:30 on Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Sheriffs received multiple reports about a herd of cows running through the streets of Pico Rivera, a city 11 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

This Twitter video does a perfect job of encapsulating the surprise residents felt when they saw 40 cows running through their quiet suburban neighborhood.

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via KTLA 5 / YouTube

A little after 7:30 on Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Sheriffs received multiple reports about a herd of cows running through the streets of Pico Rivera, a city 11 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

This Twitter video does a perfect job of encapsulating the surprise residents felt when they saw 40 cows running through their quiet suburban neighborhood.

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True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."