The stockings are hung, the tree is lit, and I stand awkwardly in the corner while everyone else is eating sugar cookies. Ahh, to be a vegan during the holidays.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. It is filled with friends, family, food, and cozy sweaters while I drink cocoa by the fire. At first the holidays seemed like a daunting time to try and be vegan whilst attending numerous holiday parties (especially when no one else you know is vegan). This is my second holiday season being vegan and I’ve learned some tips and tricks over the past few years.
My number one piece of advice is to BE FLEXIBLE. This is so important to remember when you are not the one doing the cooking. I always pack snacks whenever I go to someone’s house and don’t get discouraged or offended when I end up eating four dinner rolls and cranberry sauce for dinner.
When your dinner plate looks like this you can almost always expect the curious questions that will ensue from family and friends. “What is a vegan?” “Why are you vegan?” “Did living in Portland make you this way?” Whenever I am asked these questions I do my absolute best to answer the in an honest and caring way. Which is why my second tip is to ANSWER QUESTIONS. Veganism is still a foreign concept to many people. In the past I have found that many people in my life are genuinely curious to learn more about veganism…so I talk to them about it! It is not uncommon for people to think that I only eat kale and look down upon everyone whose has turkey with their Christmas dinner (side note: I don’t think I’m superior and I also don’t like kale #amievenvegan). Over the past few years I have tried my best to learn more about veganism that way I can have an educated and truthful conversation with those who have questions.
When first transitioning into veganism I found myself craving all my favorite holiday treats, especially the sweet ones. I would look at the display of desserts and find myself dreaming of eating sheets of peppermint bark. Yet just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy some of your favorite holiday treats. If you don’t want to miss out on the sweetest part of the season I encourage you to BAKE SOMETHING. I love baking vegan treats and seeing peoples’ reaction when I tell them that those delicious cookies are actually vegan…”but how do they taste so good?”. Making a vegan dessert or dish is not only a great way to show people how insanely delicious vegan food can be, but it also allows you to join in and not feel like you’re missing out on all the holiday fun.
When it really comes down to it, the holidays are a time to be spent with those we love. I may not have any vegan friends or family members but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my favorite time of the year! I know that inviting a vegan to a holiday party may seem stressful and I never want anyone to feel pressured to make something special for me. I have recently been incredibly overjoyed by the efforts my friends and family take to specifically cook me something during the holiday season. I may be a vegan living in a mostly non-vegan world but that doesn’t mean I am not grateful for the amazing people I have in my life. My last tip is to BE THANKFUL for your friends and family. While I may receive numerous jokes about the way I live my life, I know that at the end of the day my family and friends love me just as much now that I eat tofu instead of turkey.