You may or may not be a fan of Christmas tunes, decorations and presents. You may or may not be celebrating the birth of the little baby Jesus. Whatever your take on the festive season, for those of you who aspire to be kind by avoiding animal products, this time of year can mean spending time at a table where the presence of meat and dairy are unavoidable.
Your loved ones may be inadvertently causing you a sadness that they have yet to fully understand, or maybe they seem to take joy in teasing you! This can be a heart wrenching experience, especially if you manage to avoid seeing people munching on your animal friends the rest of the year round. If you feel you have no choice but to spend the time with your family, or you really love spending time with them despite this scenario, there are some things to keep in mind that might just help:
Be an example – Pull out all the stops to show how incredibly tasty and delicious vegan food is. An amazing nut roast or veggie Wellington can look and taste far more impressive than a dry old bit of meat off a turkey. Share it with everyone at the table so they know how great compassionate food tastes!
Stay empathetic – it’s easy to forget that, unless you were born vegan, you were once on those non-vegan shoes. Can you remember what you used to think about veganism before you changed? Remember how long your journey took and what changed your mind. You’re loved ones are still in that place, otherwise they’d already be vegan! Maybe they are at the start of their own journey or maybe they will never make the connection. But keeping in mind that most people are generally good at heart, even if their outer layers are smothering this, might help you stay on track and not loose your shit at the dinner table.
Stay kind – no matter how frustrated, upset or desparate you feel, being aggressive or having a grand Christmas Day argument is unlikely to ever convince anyone to be vegan. Do your very best to stay compassionate and kind. As a vegan, you know you have bags of it stored up to dish out! You may be wondering why the hell you should be kind to others who seem not to want to be kind to you. But purposely staying kind in the face of negative behavour makes it more difficult for others to be unkind and it keeps your happy hormones stocked up and ready to face of negativity!
Attempt acceptance – this is not the same as condoning or being joyful that a dead animal is at the table. It is about recognising that, in this moment, the situation is one you cannot change. Being desperately sad or confronting loved ones at that time, will not bring the bird back. Dwelling on the reality at that time will only make you sad and less able to cope. However, if you can keep positive, demonstrate how delicious your own dish is and insist that everyone shares it with you, your family will see that being vegan is a thing to be celebrated. If this makes them more open and accepting to the idea of being animal free, you could be saving future animals from the same fate by being a persuasive force!
The life span of the turkey can be 10 years, but the average on the table only lived a fraction of that time – at the most 26 weeks. We know the devastating truth about animal agriculture, but this truth can be very difficult for others to digest too, because individuals have a natural desire to feel like they are a good person. Even your presence at the table may challenge this, possibly leading to questions, genuine or not so, teasing and awkwardness. But if you can summon the strength, for the animals, to be the change you want to see, you will be proud at how you deal with these situations. Just like negativity and bad behaviours have the ability to spread, will find your positivist and outlook on life becoming slowly infectious.
Check out the facts about turkeys and who they are and share this thought provoking poem by the brilliant Vegan Geezer!