Politics can slice half an hour off Christmas lunch as families row

How politics can slice half an hour off Christmas lunch as families row but meals last longer if they agree on the issues of the day

  • Rowing over the issues of the day slashes the time families spend at the table
  • But if diners agree politically, meals last longer, researchers revealed yesterday
  • Psychologists at University of Winnipeg in Canada quizzed hundreds of families
  • They recorded the total time spent at the table, whether the conversation turned to politics and if diners’ political views differed or were mostly in line

If you want your festive feast to be a real Christmas cracker, don’t talk politics – it could end it almost half an hour early.

Rowing over the issues of the day slashes the time families spend at the table, researchers said yesterday.

But if diners agree politically, meals last longer.

Psychologists at the University of Winnipeg in Canada quizzed hundreds of families who gathered for Thanksgiving dinners in the US in 2018 and 2019.

Rowing over the issues of the day slashes the time families spend at the table, researchers said yesterday (file photo)

They recorded the total time spent at the table, whether the conversation turned to politics and if diners’ political views differed or were mostly in line.

The results, published in the journal PLoS One, revealed that meals lasted three to four hours, but were 24 minutes shorter on average if families argued over politics than if they snared the same viewpoint.

A similar study in 2018 suggested meals were abandoned more than an hour earlier if political views were diverse.

But psychology professor Cary Cooper, of Manchester Business School, said people should not let the findings stop them giving their views.

He added: ‘Families should be able to discuss anything at the table, especially when Covid has stopped many being able to meet.

‘It’s not healthy to suppress your opinions and emotions.

‘The trick is to listen to other people’s views and try to see things from their perspective rather than just get angry.’ 

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