Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or one of the more than a dozen holidays that happen in December…or even if you’re not celebrating at all, this time of year can be challenging for vegans. So we’ve gone out and asked a bunch of awesome vegans — both seasoned vegans and newbies — what helps them make it out of this time of year alive.
Purse Cashews | Sarah K., Baltimore, MD (1 yr 3 mos Vegan)
Survival tip: Purse Cashews. My non-veg friends made fun of me for always carrying around nuts, fruit, or peppers (specifically, haha) in my purse – I never wanted to go hungry and there weren’t always options when hanging out with them.
You Do You | Nicole D., San Diego, CA (7 yrs Vegan)
As someone who doesn’t really celebrate the holidays, I always make sure to make that day a day of something I love the most but usually don’t get to do because I’m too busy. This typically means a day of gaming and eating good food. Maybe also several naps.
This year, Callie and I are gaming our faces off to Super Nintendo and eating amazing vegan food all day.
Maybe for others this would mean reading trashy magazines, binge watching guilty pleasure TV, or something else like reading, painting or organizing your closet. Just a way to make the day special and use the time to do something you really want to do without the hamsters running wild in your head about the other stuff you should be doing instead.
The Others | Megan G., Baltimore, MD (4 yrs Vegan)
If you’re bringing delicious vegan food to a holiday gathering (I always try to!), don’t ‘other’ yourself by coming in shouting, “I brought the vegan food! Hey, this is vegan! Try mine, it’s veeeeegannnnnn.” . . .*Everyone backs away slowly*. . . People are laughably intimated and they stick to the non-vegan options. They also tend to assume, without even trying it, that vegan food tastes weird, or worse, or that it will kill them. Be subtle, my friends! I get that you’re excited to share your food, but trust me when I say that you’ll get more people trying it by nonchalantly placing it among the other dishes. You don’t have to label it. After all, it’s just food.
You Scratch My Back . . . | Kelly B., Springfield, MO
I go home to stay with my parents during the holidays. I offer to do their weekly grocery shopping for them in exchange for throwing good vegan food in the cart. I also make sure to have at least 2 hours by myself each day doing simple things like brushing my hair, watching videos, or reading since I live alone and my family can get pretty stressful.
Rabbit Food Schmabbit Food | Rachel H., Baltimore, MD (6.5 yrs Vegan)
I would say to have some favorite indulgence foods to have on hand both for your own sanity and to share with others if you feel so inclined. That way you feel happy & gratified to have your favorite foods and others (maybe nonvegan) see that just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean it’s just salads and green smoothies. You can always cleanse once the new year hits.
Knowledge is Power | Kelsey H., Victoria, B.C. (5 yrs Vegan)
[Excerpt from ‘What it Means to Be Vegan During the Holidays‘]
I encourage you to sharpen up your knowledge with documentaries (there are a plethora on Netflix to start), books (Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer is an incredibly enriching read) and include your own personal journey. All that knowledge and first hand experience will be there for you when you’re pinned down on the spot explaining why eating eggs isn’t ethical or the age-old quest of someone putting way too much emphasis on how much protein you eat.
It’s a Multi-Year Learning Process | Bryan B., Baltimore, MD (11 yrs Vegan)
I’m lucky because my family strives to include me (the outsider vegan) in things and makes special versions of the food they eat (thanks Mom!), but it has taken years to get to this point. My advice is to think of this as a multi-year learning process. It really does pay off. At first, I was helping the cooks in my family identify which ingredients weren’t vegan and find substitutes. They got the hang pretty quickly of making vegan versions of our traditional dishes and now we’ve even moved on to making some of our traditional dishes vegan (shhh don’t tell grandad). Because vegan food can be so good now and ingredients are easy to find, I use my time during the holidays trying to evoke positive feelings when introducing vegan food to other folks who aren’t as hip to the topic.
Emergency Stash | Holly
Stash up on fruits and veggies to travel with in case people want you to “swing by” for holiday events. In our area, unfortunately, people aren’t prepared for someone with dietary requirements like vegans, so I reduce temptation by packing healthy snacks I can run to the car and fill up on. Also eating before we go to family events can be super helpful.
Keep Calm and . . . | Eddie H., San Francisco, CA
- Remember that I, too, was not vegan at one point.
- Attend vegan potlucks.
- Attend family gatherings and bring a main dish and a dessert as to not feel left out.
- Remind yourself that animals need you to be happy, because only then would people want to be just like you.
- Remember that veganism is growing!
- Remind yourself you’re doing your best.
- Keep learning about and working on self-care.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Vegan Muk-Bang | Adé, Toronto
I like being alone in my room, wearing pajamas all day and watching vegan mukbang videos and eating snacks. If you don’t have a quiet room available, try a local cafe with free wifi.
Don’t Forget the Extras! | Sara Lawr, Seattle, WA
On top of bringing a couple vegan dishes, we’re bringing our own coconut milk coffee creamer, vegan butter, and vegan salad dressing, just to be safe that we’ll have options for those kinds of things
Eat Beforehand | Martha R.
We have dinner at relatives’ who don’t try to accommodate me. I try to eat something before we go so I’m not starving. I make a vegan dish — this year I’ve been asked to make green beans, so I’ll make that and maybe one other thing. I like the idea of bringing your own extras like dressing and Earth Balance.
- Vegan Holiday Survival Guide | Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!
- What is Means to Be Vegan During the Holidays | Kelsey H. for Crunchy Vegan
- How to Tell Grandma You’re Not Eating Her Mac and Cheese This Holiday | By Any Greens Necessary
- 10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive) as a Vegan Through the Holiday Season | VegKitchen
As always, we’d love to hear from you!
Do you have information to contribute? Do you believe something in this post needs to be modified? Or do you have a reaction to the above post that you would love to share? Please feel free to comment below. We will monitor these comments to maintain a safe and comfortable environment. Also, we invite you to reach out and connect with us! Find the Crunchy Vegan Gal on Instagram at @crunchyvegangal