Thanksgiving is around the corner and this year you turned vegan
Since I'm from Sweden and only have lived in the US for a couple of years, I have not experienced many Thanksgiving dinners before I went vegan. But Sweden has its own traditions, and like Thanksgiving, at each event, a particular animal is served.
The holiday season can feel especially stressful if you have decided to go vegan for ethical reasons. You have realized how absurd it is that a tradition centered around giving thanks, also directs us to cut the head of a Turkey, clean out their intestines and add stuffing up through their buttocks. But your family and friends, that you love very deeply, have not - and now they are inviting you to come over for dinner. You may not want to be a part of normalizing the consumption of meat but you also don't want to create distance from those close to you.
All the sudden, holidays are stressful for more existential reasons than shopping and getting everything together. It's a huge ethical dilemma. But depending on what we prioritize, taking an ethical stand doesn't necessarily mean that you can't attend a non-vegan Thanksgiving.
We've created a shortlist of tips on how to tackle Thanksgiving, making it enjoyable without having to normalize the consumption of an innocent animal.
Photo by: Suzy Brooks
1. First, decide whether you want to go or if you'd rather avoid being around meat.
There isn't really any wrong decision you can make here. If you decide to skip Thanksgiving this year, good for you! Just remember to be clear with whoever invited you that you appreciated the invitation, but that you prefer to avoid being around animal products. You're feelings are legitimate (even if you're friends and family don't yet understand). Try to put yourself in their situation and do your best no to sound judgmental. Maybe you could come over after dinner?
If you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving with your extended family - good for you!
2. Going to a non-vegan Thanksgiving can be a great opportunity for you to cook some delicious vegan food and bring more so other people can try. My friend Danielle (@veganwondermamas) is a great cook and has been so generous to share her Thanksgiving Meal Plan for free. You can download it here. Nothing beats seeing non-vegans choose the vegan option because it just tastes better.
3. If you can, avoid bringing up a debate on Thanksgiving as it can create an uncomfortable environment when the actual turkey is on the table. If someone makes a ridiculous comment or makes you feel uncomfortable, just go ahead and make the dishes, take a bathroom break or play with the children. Or maybe you are good at keeping yourself calm - in that case, join the conversation! Personally, for me, I find it pretty hard not to get too upset.
Photo by: Sarah Gualtieri
4. Try to stay positive. That doesn't mean that you have to pretend or act like everything is absolutely amazing, but if you can show your closest that you can enjoy your life without animal products, maybe they'll get inspired to follow your steps. Positivity often has a greater impact than confrontation.
5. If there is a sanctuary nearby, most will have some great Thanksliving events, if they don't, you could contact them for a visit. Just google "Animal Sanctuary near me" and suggestions should come up. Being around some of the few Turkeys who have been rescued and are now living their life around humans and non-humans who love and respect them. It can also be incredibly energizing to be around people who feel the same way you do about animal agriculture. And there is no secret that most kids love spending time around animals, so this will most likely be a great experience all around! For example in my area, Marely Meadows is hosting a Thanksgiving Yoga in the morning! If you don't have time to make it to a sanctuary, consider donating money to a sanctuary on Thanksgiving as a way of celebrating a more compassionate Holiday. How about sponsoring these adorable babies below? Visit Farmsanctuary.org to find out more! <3
If you have any other ideas on how to tackle Thanksgiving, feel free to come with suggestions!
Otherwise, we wish you the best and have a lovely celebration <3