If this is your first Christmas as a vegan and you’re fretting about how to cope at social occasions, don’t panic! We know it’s tough to be the only vegan when you go back home to family for Christmas, or if you’re invited to an omnivore friend’s house for food – we’ve been there, and we completely understand
But because Veganuary is not just for January, we’re here to lend some helpful advice on how to survive Christmas as a vegan guest in an omnivore household – from what not to say, what to bring and how to answer the stereotypical questions asked of all vegans (mostly involving desert islands or protein).
Don’t Go Hungry
Christmas is all about giving, and hopefully your hosts will be more than happy to provide you with vegan food options if they’re given advance notice. It might be a good idea to politely ask if they can ensure your vegetables aren’t cooked in butter or honey – and to ask if your roasties can be made with oil rather than goose fat. These are things that omnivores might not consider, even though they’re obvious to you as a new vegan.
Alternatively, you could offer to bring a dish or two which could be shared with everyone. They’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how delicious the vegan option is (because clearly we don’t just eat lettuce). You could even experiment with aquafaba – Bake-Off style – and make some delicious desserts to rival your mum’s Christmas pudding.
Gently Does It
We know it can be really tough to see a turkey served on the table for Christmas dinner, or to watch your family tucking into three courses of animal-based dishes. As a new vegan it can take time to adjust to the fact that not everyone has woken up to your new way of thinking – i.e. avoiding animal suffering – but try not to fall out with your family or friends by questioning their choices at Christmas time.
While we’d love for everyone to go vegan, our ethos has always been a gentle approach, and your grandma probably won’t appreciate being told that meat is murder when she’s tucking into her Christmas lunch. However, if a friend or family member shows an interest, there’s no harm in directing them to one of the many resources available for the vegan curious – such as Veganuary’s website – so they can read for themselves about the benefits of veganism.
Tackling Awkward Questions
If you’ve recently gone vegan you can probably expect to be asked some questions about how you’re getting enough protein, if plants have feelings too, or whether you miss cheese. If you really don’t want to answer, it’s fine to say you’d rather talk about it another time. If you’d prefer to be armed with some facts to answer even the trickiest of questions, check out our myths section.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, so try to relax and enjoy yourself. You could create some new Christmas Day traditions (like trying the Bosh! vegan wellington), make the most of seeing relatives you don’t often get to see, and veg out on tasty vegan food – even if you do need to bring it to the party yourself!
Have a very happy Christmas from all at Veganuary – may it be merry and bright.