Vegan Holiday: The last three months of the year is a whirlwind holiday season. The décor, food, and celebrations change every couple of weeks, and there is always some event just around the corner.
While holidays can be an excellent time to enjoy with your family and all the wonderful traditions, it can also be rather trying for vegans.
This, of course, is because much of the holiday season revolves around food. More specifically, it involves you having to dine at the homes of your friends and family members.
And considering that Thanksgiving and Christmas meals center around meat, things can get pretty awkward for you.
If you are dreading the coming holiday season, it’s time to turn that frown upside down.
There are lots of ways to enjoy celebrations as a vegan, even if you are in the company of omnivores. If you want to learn the secret to success, here is what you need to know:
Remind People That You are Vegan
The perfect time to remind people that you are vegan is when the holiday invitations start coming in. This isn’t something that you want to leave until it is too late.
Keep in mind, most people are probably already preparing their menu. So, if you let them know about your dietary requirements early on, they can make the necessary adjustments.
The good news is that if you are a Millennial or a part of Generation Z, then you won’t have to do much explaining. After all, about 12 percent of Millennials and 7 percent of Gen Z are vegans.
Not to mention, your lifestyle is a great deal more accepted by these generations. So, most people would have more accepting attitudes.
If you are dealing with an older relative, though, you may have to break things down, especially if they were unaware that you were vegan. Here, it is all about keeping things as simple as possible.
Provide the host or hostess with a list of foods that you can’t eat. This way, they will make it a point to make a couple of foods that are free of meat and dairy.
Ask How You Can Help
Of course, calling up people and making demands about food can be rather overwhelming for most vegans. This is especially true if you don’t know the host or hostess all that well. Thus, you may want to consider an additional strategy.
After mentioning that you are vegan, ask if there is anything you can bring to help out. Although the host or hostess will probably decline, the sentiment will still be appreciated.
If they are using a catering service, you can also offer to call up the service and describe your food requirements to the company directly. This can cut down on some of the hassles for the party planners.
Take a Dish Along
Even people with the best of intentions may sometimes get your dietary restrictions a little wrong. For instance, your host or hostess may think that it is alright to cook your food in animal fat. Or, they may unknowingly use dairy or butter in a dish, thinking that it is vegan.
To avoid starving in such situations, it is best to be prepared. Whenever possible, bring along a dish that you have prepared yourself. This way, you can be confident that you have something to eat that is entirely vegan.
Now, you can’t just bring something for yourself. So, make it a point to bring enough for everyone to share.
This is also an excellent opportunity to show others at the party just how amazing vegan food can be. It is worth it to make an extra effort here.
Help with the Preparations
If you are dining with family, then you obviously have a little more wiggle room. This is mainly because you will be around for the food preparation stage.
After all, there is a good chance that you will be spending most of Thanksgiving and Christmas at a relative’s home.
This creates the perfect opportunity for you to help out in the kitchen. Doing so serves two purposes.
First of all, it gives you the chance to cook a few vegan dishes and to make sure that there is a variety for you at dinner.
It also gives you behind-the-scenes access and lets you check that people are actually keeping certain dishes completely vegan.
If you are going to give this option a try, make sure to bring along a couple of your own ingredients. For instance, you may need vegan milk butter to substitute for the real thing in sauces and gravies.
Also, you should have a store of maple syrup to avoid using honey as a glaze. The list goes on – the more prepared you are, the easier the cooking will be.
Host Your Own Party for Family
If possible, you may just want to think about hosting your own dinner or holiday party. This way, you can take control of most of the dishes and cut down on the stress for everyone else. It is also a great way to show people that being vegan isn’t as much of a change as they would believe.
As mentioned, though, meat tends to be pretty central to certain holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Due to this, your non-vegan family members may not be up to giving up meat entirely on the day. In this case, you will have to decide whether you are comfortable with meat being brought into your own home.
If you are hosting your immediate family, you may be able to convince them to skip the meat for this one meal.
In case you can do this, remember to go all out with your menu. Pick veggies and dishes that will be suitable substitutes for meat so that your family doesn’t feel as though they are missing out.
Be Mindful of Mixed Company
The holidays are a time when relatives of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences get together. As a result, there will probably be some family members that aren’t quite as comfortable with veganism as the rest. In fact, there may be some that take offense to your new lifestyle choice.
Since this is a period of celebration, now isn’t exactly a time to start an argument about animal rights. Some people will not change their minds, regardless of how many facts they are presented with.
Not to mention, the rest of your family members shouldn’t have to be forced to watch a showdown take place at the dinner table.
This is why it is best to avoid any vegan talk, particularly while people are eating. Even if someone tries to crack a couple of jokes at your expense, simply laugh it off. The less you engage cynical people, the better.
Don’t Forget About Vegan Presents!
The one thing that no one will turn down is a good present. So, if you want people to be a little more open-minded about your lifestyle, get them some excellent vegan presents. Do you have a fashionista in the family? Then, get them a cruelty-free vegan coat.
If there is a foodie, get them a subscription to delicious vegan snacks. For the family member that is all about their career, get them cases or tablet covers made from vegan leather.
The list really does go on with all of the vegan options available to you.
Of course, gift-giving goes both ways. To avoid the awkwardness of opening a non-vegan gift, construct a cruelty-free list for yourself.
Make sure that the products can be easily found and are reasonably priced. Then circulate this to family members.
Create New Vegan Traditions for Yourself
After going vegan, you have probably found a whole new community. Thus, it is crucial to take the time to celebrate with these individuals as well. So, consider hosting a vegans-only holiday party for your conscientious friends.
If the holiday season has put you in a giving mood, look up to see just how you can help out animals during this time.
Perhaps you can volunteer at a shelter, donate to an animal sanctuary, or even adopt. The opportunities to do good are endless for you.
If there are vegan holiday celebrations where you live, make sure to join in on the fun. This will give you the chance to meet more likeminded people.
If you find that there is not much going on, why not take the lead yourself?
Meet other vegans and talk about how you can set up a fair, carnival, or a similar event. You can turn it into a charity event so that you can have fun and bring a little more goodness into the world.
In fact, this small project may turn out to be one of the best vegan traditions that you start!
The holidays don’t have to be a horrible time of year for you. Whether you are surrounded by vegans or non-vegans, there is a lot that you can do to salvage the celebrations.
So, go ahead and try out these tips for yourself and see how they turn out.
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