Christmas time can be challenging for most people. Everything seems to be heightened and stress levels run high. For vegans, or anyone who wishes to buck the western norms of over-indulgence at this time, anxiety levels may also be on the rise.
Perhaps it’s the huge spread of animal products at Christmas lunch. Maybe it’s the over-indulgence of meaningless plastic toys that will end up in landfill after one play. Perhaps it’s the anxiety of having to face distant relatives firing questions as to why there’s no ham on your plate. Or maybe you're worried that you’ll be on the receiving end of jokes, being the only vegan in the family.
Here are a few tips on how to get through and even potentially enjoy the festive holiday season this year.
Wow them with your insanely delicious vegan food options. Even the ultimate carnivore won’t be able to resist. They are a number of great meatless Christmas alternatives, check out the Minimalist Baker's 126 Vegan Christmas recipes. We are lucky enough to be having the Festive Roast by Vegan Butcher Suzy Spoon. I tested it the other day and it's Ah-mazing!
Take some tips from psychologist and author Dr Melanie Joy. Dr Joy one of my vegan heroes. Her advice is so practical and helpful when learning how to navigate the world and your relationships as a vegan. There’s no way I will do her in-depth knowledge justice by a brief synopsis here, so my advice would be to checkout her website, ted talks or read her books. But to give you a taste, some of her key tips are as follows:
- Dr Joy highlights the importance of healthy relationships with others, regardless of their ideological beliefs. Focus on other aspects of your relationships, the common ground, the similarities.
- If people close to you aren’t vegan you can let them know you’re not trying to convert them but suggest they may like to be your ally. Vegan allies may not be vegan (or they might be a bit) but they can respect it and have your back if you need it, regardless.
- Aim for security and connectedness in relationships - this doesn’t happen through shame or judgement of others. Don’t try to turn everyone vegan. Sometimes when you share your enthusiasm with others the reactions may not be what you expect. Try not to be the expert - don’t define other people’s reality. Remember safe relationships are about connection & security. It might be ok to share the truth of your experience though in a subtle way, if you gage it's appropriate.
- If someone makes a joke at your expense or encourages you to eat meat, you can politely let them know that being vegan means you are living according to your values. Just like you wouldn’t suggest a Jewish person eat pork or make a joke about their religion, similarly it can also be offensive for others to joke or disrespect your belief system and lifestyle.
Lead by example and don’t engage in conflict. People may ask questions out of pure curiosity and that’s great - it’s an opportunity for you to openingly talk about your fantastic vegan experience. Unfortunately though, there may be a few who feel threatened by your choice and choose to confront you on it. Try to diffuse any situation that comes up with kindness and openness. Short and simple answers like “I get my protein from plants” or “I do this for the environment/for animal rights/ for my health" "It's working well well for me.” Finally point out to people who are trying to challenge you that by choosing to be vegan you are not trying to make them become vegan.
Stay away from the places that bring out the worst of humanity. Especially the 24 hour shopping centres (cringe!) Chances are, if you’re vegan you will be extra sensitive to the horrors of the world. Overconsumption can be really upsetting and if you’re like me all you’ll be thinking about is the great pacific garbage patch. Avoid places that highlight this, try and get out into nature and share your green and vegan gift ideas and recipes with others who’ll be keen for the knowledge.
Focus on the positive messages of the festive season- peace, goodwill and time with family. This may be hard to get your head around, particularly if you’re vegan for ethical reasons, as the mass slaughter of animals for Christmas feasts contradict the notion of peace on earth. However this is the status quo of the masses and for the sake of others, who are still yet to understand a vegan’s perspective, we may need to let some things lie. Try to look for the good in others and use less judgement. Everyone is on their own unique journey and living their own reality. As Dr Joy says, you can love or respect someone’s character, even if you don’t agree with their behaviours. Good people can participate in bad practices. Lead by example and know that every bit helps and your contribution matters.
Give Vegan & Eco gifts - Choose to support the grassroots makers and creators who care about what they make and how it's made. Think about your where you spend your money. Vote for the kind of world you want with your dollar. Go green, go vegan! Check out my Our most popular Christmas Gifts category where there's something for everyone. All earth friendly, ethical and vegan. All online orders up until 21st December will be sent via Express post, to ensure they get to you in time, for our regular shipping price of $10 Flat rate and FREE for orders over $100.
Safe and happy holidays to each of you.
PS This is not a sponsored post 😊