Festive season is upon us and that means one thing: food! While the cold sets in (or the heat, depending on where you live!), there is nothing more comforting than eating a plate of yummy food surrounded by those you love.
However, we understand the holidays can also be a challenging time for that same reason. Food, diets, and lifestyles can be a delicate subject, specially if other family/friends don’t understand your choices and reasonings.
On our part, there are several things we could try to make dinners as pleasant and fulfilling for everyone. Veganism should bring people together, not divide them!
1. Show, don't tell
It’s easy to end up in heated debates on whether veganism is unhealthy, silly, pointless, expensive, etc. (things we know are not true!) with relatives or friends who do not understand — but that’s the key: they don’t understand! Why don’t you offer to cook or bake a delicious vegan dish and show everyone vegan food can be tasty? (sometimes, it’s better to wait until everyone has tasted the food before announcing it’s vegan — surprise the table!).
2. Be understanding
While some friends/family members may be tempted to ask questions, tease, or make unnecessary remarks, try to think everyone is brought up differently. Older people (ex: grandparents) were born into a very different world than today, and today’s way of living is vastly different than when they were kids or teenagers. Try to remember that their stubbornness is old age — but don’t give up on hope!
It can also be hard to “be understanding” when others are not being understanding back, which is a completely valid feeling. But if you’re confident in your choices and what veganism means to you, you have nothing to worry about. Your job is not to preach or be preached at, it’s to have a nice time.
3. Prepare in advance
If you’re going to eat at a non-vegan house, don’t assume there will be food for you. Even with the best of intentions, people may forget or not have time to cook a special dish for you. That’s fine! You can always bring your own food or make sure there are vegan-friendly delivery places nearby.
4. Set your boundaries
If there are certain people in the group who may be tempted to start an unwanted debate, remember you don’t have to engage. Remind them you’re not a vegan preacher and that there are plenty of resources out there that can answer their questions: offer to send them a list of books/articles (even if you won’t — this serves to stop unwanted questions).
Remember, you’re allowed to say “no, thank you” or “I’m not comfortable talking about this”.
All in all, prepare and try to have the best time you can whether you choose to spend time with family, friends, or pets!
If you’re a teenager, we recommend this Guardian article which features experiences from other teenagers — you’re not alone!
We wish you all the happiest and vegan-est of holidays ❤️