by: Michiana Vegfest

When it comes to veganism, there are still those who have yet to be convinced of the advantages of going plant-based.

It’s time for the holidays. It’s a time to unwind with loved ones, watch movies, sip wine, and indulge in delicious food. This can be overwhelming for a new vegan, however. You may find it difficult to maintain a completely animal-free diet and lifestyle at Christmas if you aren’t surrounded by like-minded people. To help you enjoy and relax this holiday season, we’ve put together a list of five top tips. 

1. When People Don’t Understand Why You Did What You Did  

In the event that some of your family and friends at the dinner table are unsure about vegan food or the vegan lifestyle, calmly explain your reasons for making the decision. What’s the reason? Whether it’s because you care about the environment, your health, or the welfare of animals (or a combination of all three), it’s important to explain why. In most cases, people are open-minded and eager to learn, and if they aren’t, move on. Maybe you can give it another go at the next family gathering. Most importantly, you should be satisfied with your choice. 

2. Dealing with Persuasion 

New vegans may find it difficult to avoid the two big C’s (chocolate and cheese). It’s especially true at this time of year, when the cheese board is laid out after dinner and boxes of chocolates are on hand all day long. What you need to do is stock up early, making sure all your favorite vegan substitutes are readily available. As a vegan, you don’t have to share with your family members. However, if you’re feeling particularly altruistic, share some of the cruelty-free goodness with your family’s cynics instead of just eating it all yourself. You’ve got a good chance of hooking them. 


3. When a Non-Vegan Gift is Given, What to Do 

Sometimes it takes a while for your family and friends to accept you as a vegan, regardless of how long you’ve been one. A thoughtful gift may have been given to you with the best of intentions, but the person who gave it to you may not have realized it contained animal products. Refusing the gift or returning it to a store with a polite explanation of why you’re returning it is an option. Alternatively, if the gift is homemade, you may be able to accept it and understand that veganism isn’t always about perfection. 

4. Vegan Christmas Feast Planning 

For many families, the 25th of December is the most important day of the year. Even if you’re a brand-new vegan, this may be the part you dread the most. What really matters this holiday season is spending time with your loved ones, not the turkey, the ham, or the bacon brussels sprouts. You could offer to help the chef by making your own vegan meat, or you could just eat the delicious vegetables and gravy that has already been prepared for you. Tofurky is a great alternative if you choose the first option and want to include the whole family in the process. 

5. In the end, all that matters is that you have fun. 

The following year, you’ll be a fearless vegan hero. With so many deep-seated meat and dairy-based culinary traditions taking center stage at large family gatherings, everyone initially feels wobbly. 

In the spirit of the holidays, it’s best to give back to the environment and animals. Have a good time, and don’t forget to eat and drink. Keep spreading compassion this season, my friend.