Saturday, November 21, 2009

How to Get Through the Holidays When Your Family Eats Animals

How to Get Through the Holidays When Your Family Eats

The holiday season can be a bit frustrating for
vegetarians, but we're here to help. Unfortunately, we
can't force your grandmother to stop insisting that
try "just a little" of the turkey she's serving, but
we can help you get through holiday meals without
throwing your tofu pie in anyone's face. Here are some
tips to help get you to the table this holiday season
and make sure you are well-fed and an effective animal
advocate while you're there.

Don't Boycott!
Refusing to attend your family's holiday gathering or
boycotting the office's holiday party doesn't help
animals. Many meat-eaters read your non-attendance as
self-deprivation, self-righteousness, or both, and
that's the sort of club that nobody wants to join.
("You can't even go to Thanksgiving dinner? Who wants
to live like that?") Instead, show up with a smile on
your face and a tasty vegan dish in hand (more on that
below). It's the perfect opportunity to expose others
to vegetarian foods and talk about why being
vegetarian is important for you and animals.

Bring Food to Share
Every family's holiday tradition has one thing in
common: lots of food. Show your family how delicious
vegetarian food can be by bringing a dish or two to
pass around the table. This will also ensure that you
aren't stuck eating nothing but salad and a roll. You
could even offer to do all the cooking, invite over a
few friends or family members to help with
preparations, and serve a vegan feast that's sure to
please everybody! Check out holiday recipes for some
great ideas, including vegan versions of holiday
classics such as Holiday Nog, Pumpkin Patch
'Cheesecake', and Cider Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Be
sure you have copies of your vegan recipes on hand.

Dealing With 'The Question'
We've all been there. You sit down to eat, and as
everyone starts, someone asks, "So, why don't you eat
meat?" You feel your stomach tighten and you take a
deep breath, but you're not sure what to say. It's not
very effective to get into a long discussion about
cruelty to animals during a holiday dinner (since that
will likely just annoy people), but you also don't
want to let the animals down by saying nothing or
chalking it up to nothing more than "a personal
decision," so try something like this instead:
"Cruelty to animals is an issue that is really
important to me. If you saw how animals suffer in
factory farms and slaughterhouses, you'd most likely
be horrified and wouldn't want to support it. But I've
found that having this discussion while eating can be
unpleasant for some, and I don't want to monopolize
the entire conversation. I do have some literature and
videos, and I'd love to talk to you about this later."
This way, you've raised the moral issue and come
across as the nicest person at the table.

Get Active
We hope that you can schedule some time in the coming
weeks to hand out leaflets.

We hope that these tips will help you enjoy a happy
and compassionate holiday season!

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