No Religion or Politics: Try these low-stakes debate topics at your LA family reunion

The holidays are coming. And with them will come some wonderful people who, it must be said, are wrong about various things. These are your loved ones and in-laws.

you appreciate them. You share history. But soon, when you’re all sitting around a dining table together, expect a significant risk of conflict or embarrassment.

Do not worry about it. We’ve got these relatively safe themes ready for you – open-ended, locally rooted themes that are likely to inspire speculation, encourage bluffing, evoke memories and cause disagreement, but likely not blood. No politics, no religion, no FIFA, no tacos.

But we can discuss donuts and dodgers, right? Here is our list.

  • Can we agree that the 6th Street Viaduct is now our favorite bridge in Los Angeles? What is #2?
  • The best donuts in Los Angeles are definitely made from…
  • To reach LAX by 5pm on a weekday, it is best to leave DTLA at…
  • We know what you think of LAX. Prefer to fly from Burbank or Long Beach?
  • The best cinematic portrayal of Los Angeles isn’t Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, La La Land, or Chinatown. It is…
  • The alleged green flash on the water at sunset: Have you seen it? If not, do you believe in it?
  • How long do you have to live in Los Angeles to be a local?
  • How long does one have to leave California before one is no longer a Californian?
  • If you know who Cal Worthington and Hobo Kelly are, does that mean you’re Californian forever?
  • When you hear someone refer to this condition as “Cali,” the immediate reaction is…
  • Next to Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles’ most overrated landmark is…
  • The Greatest Laker Not Named Magic Is…
  • The Greatest Dodger Not Named Sandy Is…
  • Forget the Griffith Observatory or the Bradbury Building. My favorite building in LA is…
  • If the Dodgers get tired of playing “I Love LA” after winning home games, the next song to use is…

And just for fun, here are some trivia questions. We encourage you to explore these topics without a phone consultation — or any outside facts — until the meal is ready. Bluffing is better this way. But if you need to know answers to the questions that have answers, you can find them by following the links.

  • You’re on a boat to Catalina. Is flotsam stuff that sailors throw overboard? Or is that Jetsam?
  • Was “Victory Lap” recorded by Los Lobos, Nipsey Hussle or the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
  • It turns out Los Angeles has steeper streets than San Francisco. And the steepest of these streets is in the neighborhood of…
  • They’re down by the port of San Pedro. Would you rather be a docker or a stevedore? Do dock workers hire stevedores or vice versa?
  • Your name has just arrived at City Hall, and your name isn’t Karen Bass. Would you rather be a lackey or a lackey? Who is historically allowed to wear a uniform?
  • Was “Under the Bridge” recorded by Los Lobos, Nipsey Hussle or the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
  • You’re looking up from Griffith Observatory. When does a meteor become a meteorite? Or is it the other way around?
  • They’re going to San Francisco. Do you take I-5 for speed or US 101 for scenery? What’s the difference in miles?
  • You are planning a weekend trip. When talking about the mountains surrounding Yosemite, is it okay to say Sierras?
  • Was “Native Son” recorded by Los Lobos, Nipsey Hussle or the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
  • You plan another weekend. Is Joshua Tree National Park the High Desert, Colorado Desert, Mojave Desert, none of the above, or all of the above?

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