Vegan Christmas Survival! 5 Emotional Tricks To Truly Thrive This Holiday Season

Holidays can be an exceptionally emotional time of the year.

It’s not just the mood around Christmas preparations and gift buying, and all the holiday ‘propaganda’ (both good and not so great) pursuing us with every step we take. It’s about all the memories that may come up, which could also involve past childhood wounds, dreams we haven’t lived yet, and grudges towards family members that we may have been withholding for quite a while.

The last few could become an issue during this time of the year, especially if some of your friends and family haven’t come to terms with your veganism just yet. Fear no more! Here are

5 Emotional Considerations To Follow And Thrive As A Vegan This Christmas

Stand firm

If you’re a new vegan, it’s easy to be apologetic or waver if you’re questioned about your choices. No one can get under your skin unless you let that happen. Show confidence in your choices, and people are less likely to try to mess with you.

Save the debates for another time

If someone provokes you, intentionally or not, and you must say something at the holiday table, don’t stoop to their level. Keep it simple and make it about yourself, not them. “Being vegan makes me feel great physically, and I have a huge amount of mental energy.” is something I repeat often.

If someone gets right in your face about your choices, or asks a point-blank question (“What’s wrong with dairy? After all, the cow doesn’t have to die,” is one I hear a lot), I say, “I’ll be glad to share what I know about animal agriculture, but this isn’t the time or place for graphic details. If you really want to know, I’ll be glad to discuss this with you privately, when we’re not eating.”

Don’t succumb to guilt

Especially if you’re a new vegan in a non-vegan-friendly family, you might get those sad-eyed or withering looks from your parents, aunts and uncles, or grandparents. “What? You’re not going to have some of the XYZ, after so-and-so worked so hard to prepare it?” Be firm, and neutral. “I don’t eat XYZ any more, but I’m sure it’s delicious, and there will be more for everyone else.” Repeat as needed. The first year will be hardest. By year three, they’ll likely get tired of laying on the guilt.

Practice gratitude

Remember how fortunate those of us are who can actually make all the food choices we prefer, right down to buying the organic version of something. So many people around the world and even in this country go hungry and lack basic food security. Remembering that we’re among the lucky ones really helps put a lot of other, more petty things into perspective.

Give back

Following the last tip, do whatever you can around the holidays within your means, to alleviate the suffering and/or difficulties of fellow humans and animals. Even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash, you can donate your time, or goods you no longer need to women’s shelters, food banks, animal shelters or farm sanctuaries, and the like. As vegans, we all understand that compassion stretches far beyond the kitchen.

Do you have any special ‘rules’ you follow to have a calm and enjoyable time over the holidays? Share in the comments below!