Vegan Christmas With NonVegans: 5 Tips for Survival
Getting together for meal times with family members that aren’t vegan can be tricky. Especially when the gatherings involve tradition. If you managed to pull together a Thanksgiving celebration you can feel good about, then you probably won’t have any problems with Christmas. But in case you found it uncomfortable or challenging here are some tips to help you get through the meal times so you can enjoy the family time!
Tip 1: Compromise
I know this is no fun to hear, but sometimes it is a way for everyone to find peace with the situation. In my case for example, my husband is an omnivore, and so is his family that we will be entertaining on Christmas. So we sat down and went through the dishes that would be expected and agreed that we could stick to a vegan Christmas with the exception of fish. So my children and I can feel comfortable knowing that none of the animals that my kids so dearly love will be on the table. My in-laws will get to try (and hopefully fall in love with) some vegan food. And although I do not like the idea of fish being served everyone has got to feel like they have something they can eat and we can keep the dishes that make us vegans uncomfortable at the other side of the table.
Tip 2: Communication
Wether or not your family members agree with your lifestyle, they can most certainly show respect for your feelings. Communicate with your family members about how the dishes planned make you feel and that it would be nice if they could reconsider a few.
Tip 3: When in doubt, bring food!
One of the cardinal rules of vegan parenting in any situation and during the holidays it is no different. If you are headed to a family members for the celebration, and have no control of the food, bring something you can feel good about. Maybe the kids’ favorite? So that they don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. Might also be nice to let your host know ahead of time that you will be doing so.
Tip 4: Prepare
Mentally as well as the cooking. It is important (if your kids are old enough) to explain to them what they are going to meet ahead of time. This way they know that there might be foods that make them uncomfortable or foods that you/they do not agree with and that those foods can be ignored as far as consumption because there will be options available to them. Also, remind them that it is ok to ask if something is vegan. It always warms my heart a little when I hear my 3yr old asking someone if the food they are trying to give him is vegan.
Tip 5: Don’t Preach
The holidays are not a good time to preach. Although a lot of us have a burning fire inside us that wants to let everyone we love in on the benefits of veganism, holidays are not a good time. Last year I very respectfully kept to my own food and just enjoyed the conversations around me. And at the next family gathering when I got a little to passionate and got a feisty response, I was glad I wasn’t ruining a holiday celebration to boot. Keep it family friendly. That being said, to each their own. If having a lengthy discussion about hot topics is a family favorite, then why not take advantage of the amount of people gathered to spread some knowledge!