Christmas can be a tough time of year when you’re the only vegan at the dinner table. Whether this is your first vegan Christma, or you’re a veteran of many dinner table battles, the 25th of December can be just a little bit intimidating and overwhelming. Fear not though friendly vegan, we’ve put together our top tips to help survive Christmas as a vegan.
1. Don’t preach
Christmas day is a day for unity, love and togetherness, not a day for trying to convert your family to a cruelty free lifestyle. The sight of a family member stuffing their face with pigs in blankets might fill you with disgust but trust us, its best to keep it to yourself. Unfortunately, we vegans have developed somewhat of a reputation as being a little sanctimonious and preachy, let’s break these stereotypes down instead of confirming them.
If you’re intent on spreading the word, our suggestion is to wait until the afternoon when all the meat eaters are feeling incredibly sluggish and have sunk into a catatonic stupor. This is an ideal moment to pirouette through the living room beaming like the light filled being of love and compassion that you are.
2.You will be asked a lot of questions
Despite all the pages we follow on Instagram, all the celebrities turning vegan and the seemingly daily influx of vegan food choices onto the high street, we vegans are still quite a rare breed. My dear old Grandma wouldn’t be able to understand veganism if the entire staff of the UK Vegan Society and PETA turned up on her doorstep. Answer questions gently and with patience, people who are curious are one step closer to the light. This is your best chance to plant the seeds of awareness in the minds of your relatives and loved ones so choose your words wisely.
3.Take control of the potatoes
Here at Vegan Chocolate Shop hq, there’s only one food that we might love more than chocolate, and that’s the humble spud. Unfortunately, cooking spuds in goose fat seems to be all the rage these days, making this starchy super star off the menu for vegans. (Not casting blame, but for us, the culprits name rhymes with Piegella Blawson) Take this as an opportunity to help prepare the dinner and reduce the workload of the chef.
For delicious cruelty free and crispy potatoes, we recommend a liberal dose of olive or coconut oil. If you feel inspired upon entering the kitchen, now’s your chance to show the carnivores just how tasty vegetables can be, a show stealing side dish will open the door for many towards a plant based lifestyle.
4. Be grateful for the efforts of the host
A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. Even if your Christmas dinner consists of a couple of Linda Mac sausages served up on a bed of microwave peas, the host has still gone out of their way to accommodate you. Feeling a sense of gratitude for their efforts and the fact that we live in a society where we are all free to proclaim our believes will give you the inner strength required to deal with other Christmas dinner challenges such as…
5. Jokes will be made at your expense
Family gatherings always bring out the comedians. After a few too many early morning proseccos, a relative (it always seems to be an uncle?) will decide that you will be the afternoons entertainment. Banal questions such as “would you like a side of vegetables with your main of vegetables?” may be met with roars of laughter from around the table. At this moment younger family comedians may hit you with real zingers such as “but plants have feelings too”.
Take it all in your stride, these jokes are a symptom of the cognitive dissonance of carnivores and an early sign of their awakening. If it all gets a bit much, we suggest repeating an internal phrase or mantra such as “my gentle diet gifts me a gentle mind” or for those of you who are less peaceful “if only you knew”.
There’s nothing worse then resisting the urge to preach, answering a million questions, cooking your own veg and smiling serenely at a million jokes worse than the ones your Christmas crackers, all whilst staying as sober as a judge because the booze provided isn’t suitable for vegans. We suggested taking a look at this excellent guide to vegan alcohol from Vegan Food and Living Magazine.
7.BYOP (Bring your own pudding)
Watching from the sidelines as your family dives into their pudding whilst you push a chopped up apple and a few grapes around a bowel can be a disappointing end to a well navigated Christmas lunch. You can’t just dine on vegan chocolate either (trust us on this one) Fortunately, most of the major supermarkets and health food stores have an ever growing range of free from options for you to choose from. As you finish off your pudding, take the time to congratulate yourself on a well navigated Christmas day, and sit back and watch in wonder and awe as your mum suggests you all watch Cowspiracy on Netflix.
So there you have it, our top tips for surviving Christmas as a vegan. How do you survive these family encounters? Any tips that you want to share, please do so below!