Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 

 

Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 
     

Holidays

For many vegans, holidays symbolize a joyous time of love, warmth, and goodwill. Accordingly, it is understandable that we should be appalled to see festivities that entail decorating tables with corpses. Because vegans honor life in all its diverse designs, it can seem outrageous that the token of generosity and goodwill does not extend itself to our nonhuman brethren. It may seem even more outlandish when coupled with the selective compassion many people evidence on the holidays. Some people lavish their pets with toys and treats and presents galore, treating them as an equal family member; yet these very same people would condone the factory-farm life, brutal slaughter, and consumption of the animals they consider food. To witness this can be upsetting, to say the least.

During the holiday season, we surround ourselves with friends and family. We seek out the comfort and companionship of the ones we love, but it is on these occasions that some vegans feel the most ostracized and isolated. Around the dinner table our veganism comes to the fore, our morals plainly broadcast for all to see. Even the most secure vegan can feel the heat of scrutiny, and even the most well-meaning criticisms are just that: critical. Often questions and false assumptions emanate from our closest family and friends. Light-hearted banter may then lead to defensive or outright hostile attitudes on both sides. These feelings can shatter the sense of peace and well-being that we come together to celebrate.

So what can we do to overcome these obstacles to holiday enjoyment? How can we reclaim those feelings of warmth and closeness during the season of joy and inner peace?

  1. Adjust your attitude.
    Remember that holidays are supposed to be fun for all involved! Nitpicking and a "holier than thou" attitude is always a dampener and often leads to hurt feelings. For those who are not hosting festivities, it is important to remember that you are a guest in someone's home, and that a negative mood does little to win brownie points. Conversely, don't allow the opinion of one trouble-stirring guest dampen your holiday spirit. Rudeness is universal, and there is almost always one family member who will try to start a fight. The best advise is to simply turn the other cheek and enjoy the company of other, more agreeable companions.

  2. Compromise, but don't sacrifice your ethics.
    The nice thing about hosting is that you ultimately have the decision of what is served, who will be attending, and how the day should be planned and carried out. This means easy adherence to vegan philosophy; simply serve a vegan meal. It is only when you become the guest that things get sticky. Ideally, your host would serve a completely vegan meal that was not only animal-free, but also unique and delicious. In most cases, vegan dishes are present, but often as sides and of dubious nutritional value. They may very well be unappealing (I for one have had my fill of salads, the only food my omni hosts seem to think a vegan eats!) and less than filling. My suggestion is to talk with hosts in advance, and if nothing appeals to you, get the okay to bring a vegan dish of your own. Fix enough to feed the entire group, and you may find more people asking for seconds of that wonderful concoction!

  3. Don't use the dinner table as your personal forum.
    That is what Vegan Views is for! Using the meal as a way to preach philosophy is probably the easiest way to put people on the offensive. Remember that the path to veganism is that of gentle guidance, and aggressiveness rarely gets the point across. Those who dine with you are a captive audience, so while sharing your views is acceptable (especially if they ask for them) verbally beating your guests into submission is not.

  4. Don't give vegan propaganda as gifts.
    With enlightenment comes the wish to share this common wisdom with those we love. Here vegans must walk a fine line between what is a mutually enjoyable gift and what pleases the giver more than the receiver. Gifts should be given with the recipient's wishes in mind. A vegan cookbook for a chef is a useful and mutually appreciated gift; a vegan cookbook for your teenage nephew is not. Consider how you would receive a gift of a hunting bow, or a cheese log. Because we tend to think of our lifestyle as non-offensive, it is easy to get carried away "spreading the message." Keep gifts simple, pleasurable for the recipient, and without hidden messages.

  5. Realize that acceptance is a two-way street.
    'Tis the season for open hearts and minds. We often expect others to embrace us for who we are but fail to do the same for them. Tolerance is something vegans must practice in all aspects of their relationships, or they will find themselves very much alone. Understanding takes patience, and though we might not agree with the practices of those we love, we still love them nonetheless. Let them know how much you appreciate them and their support, and offer your support in turn. Only then can there be true warmth and kindness.

    Ash O.
    Iowa

    - n e x t   e s s a y -

     




    Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak   All rights reserved.
    Nothing on this web site may be reproduced in any way
    without express written permission from the copyright holder.
 
 

Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

Click here to learn more

Order this book!

 

 

The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Click here to learn more

Review by Dan Balogh

View Readers' Comments

Order this book!

 

 

The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

Click here to learn more

Order this book!