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How to Navigate the Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons as a New Vegan

As the holiday season gets into full swing, many people are planning holiday events, such as Christmas strolls and parties. Unfortunately, if you are a new vegan, the holiday spirit may not be as full of joy as you like. Everywhere you turn, there is food you no longer eat and people who just don’t get it.

However, the holidays need not be a season full of angst and frustration. Even though you’ve changed how you eat, you can still enjoy a very festive vegan holiday. What’s more, you may even end up starting new traditions of your own.

In this article, we will share a few tips to help you navigate your holiday season without having to worry about your new dietary and lifestyle choices getting in the way.

What does mean to be vegan during the holidays?

To start, let’s look at what it means to be vegan during the holiday season. Of course, following a vegan diet and lifestyle means pretty much the same as it would the rest of the year. However, during the holidays, there are certain things that may look drastically different, or may no longer be an option now that you’re vegan.

One such example would be the Christmas festivals that many local zoos host. While these events seem innocent enough, since they are held inside zoos, many vegans will no longer feel comfortable attending these celebrations.

Another issue that comes up for many vegans around the holidays is the kind of gifts that people may give them. While friends and family may understand that you no longer eat meat and other animal products, they may not at first get that you also don’t use any other products, like soaps and clothing items, that contain animal byproducts.

Lastly, while your friends and family may already know that you don’t eat foods like chicken or cheese, they may not be so quick to make the connection that you also don’t use products like honey and butter. Fortunately, there are some ways to make these kinds of potential pitfalls go smoothly, so let’s get into them.

Set yourself up for success

Like holidays of years past, any holiday celebration you attend this year will likely have all the fixings, from enticing cocktails to all the usual holiday treats. But simply because you’ve decided not to eat animal products doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun!

The first tip to set yourself up for success is to avoid arriving at any event on an empty stomach.

One of the hardest things to do is resist food when you’re hungry.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.” Likewise, you should never show up to a holiday soiree on an empty stomach. That is unless all of your friends and family also decided to go vegan. But, if you know you’ll be coming face-to-face with foods that you no longer want to eat, you’ll want to give yourself the advantage by filling up beforehand.

Another way of setting yourself up for success is to have a chat with everyone that you may exchange gifts with to ensure they understand that you no longer use certain products that contain animal products and are tested on animals. In doing so, you can avoid the awkwardness of having to explain these concepts all while holding a gift chalked full of them.

Impress them with your culinary skills

As we highlighted above, there’s nothing worse than arriving at a party and finding out there is nothing to eat. For many of us, this experience can make or break the day.

So, if you want to avoid this situation altogether, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, chat with your family or friends that are hosting to ensure they know you’ve gone vegan.

Second, offer to prepare a dish that everyone can enjoy or offer to help prepare the food for the event. In doing so, you will enjoy spending time with family and friends as you cook while ensuring that there will be an amazing vegan holiday meal for you to enjoy as well.

Some ideas on delicious vegan holiday meals that you can share are:

● Vegan charcuterie boards
● Holiday wreaths (using flaky croissant rolls)
● Pinwheel Christmas trees (wraps cut into slices)
● Vegan pumpkin pies
● Vegan cheese balls (with cranberries and walnuts)

While these dishes are just a few examples, there are so many different vegan holiday meal options. And, if you’re going to attend a party and think that people may not be into your “vegan” dish, you can opt to veganize another popular holiday dish using ingredients, such as vegan butter and non-dairy milk.

Not only will you impress everyone with your culinary prowess, they probably won’t even know it’s vegan.


Vegan Holiday Celebrations Can Offer Fun for Everyone

How to Field Awkward Questions from Family and Friends About Veganism

Your Survival Guide for Eating with Non-Vegan Family During the Holidays

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