Holiday gatherings are the perfect time to show friends and family that vegan living isn’t something to be scared about but that it can be quite the opposite…living compassionately and cruelty-free is something everyone can celebrate. You can share favorite vegan foods, animal-free gift ideas, and gently educate loved ones on the countless benefits of reducing their use of animal products.
My husband and I visit with our families over the holidays and instead of letting mealtime be uncomfortable and awkward, we make sure to play an integral part in the kitchen. Most traditional recipes can be easily veganized by simply replacing a few ingredients. Bringing a few essential items with you (or purchasing them when you arrive, if you have that luxury, unlike us who grew up in a small town where local stores offer limited vegan essentials) can make all the difference when preparing family meals. Make sure to have on hand vegan alternatives for milk, butter and eggs. We also usually have a stash of veggie burgers and snack items just in case.
It is also easy to maintain holiday traditions by introducing folks to new products. Take eggnog for instance. Several companies offer cruelty-free alternatives to this holiday favorite and personally, I think the alternatives are more delicious than the original. So Delicious makes nog using coconut milk, and you have three different flavors to choose from: Original Nog, Pumpkin Spice, and Mint Chocolate. The variety of pop-in-the-oven holiday “roasts” continues to impress everyone’s taste buds, and they provide easy and tasty centerpieces for any meal. So prepare your family a roast this holiday that they won’t be able to resist; try one of these vegan-friendly companies: Field Roast, gardein, or Tofurky.
And while everyone is in the kitchen veganizing their favorite dishes, take the time to start new traditions by gently discussing your reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Politely share your story and views on the subject and kindly answer questions and provide resources for those who are truly interested in the conversation. And remember, it’s not about forcing anyone to go vegan overnight…it’s about planting the seeds of compassion and providing a positive support system so that they may find the path themselves. Leading by example is the most powerful way of affecting those around you.
For more helpful tips and advice on sharing compassionate conversation with friends and family, check out CompassionateHolidays.com. Happy Holidays!