It’s time again for the Holidaze. Time for seeing family members (ah…family), giving and receiving presents (because who doesn’t need a new snowflake neck tie?), and, oh yes, watching as your loved ones eat the very animals you are fighting to save. Beginning with Thanksgiving, this can be a very trying time for many farm animal advocates.
Which is why it’s particularly important that we spend from now until the end of the year going that extra mile in taking care of ourselves and our activist peers. This includes getting enough sunshine and exercise, eating well, staying hydrated (and I mean with water, folks, not soy nog), spending time with your activist community, and doing something every day that’s fun and has nothing whatsoever to do with your activism. Read more on surviving the holidays as a vegan.
Thanksgiving tends to be particularly tough for vegans and animal activists. For many of us, watching a dead bird be handed around the table can actually be very traumatic. If you plan on attending a Thanksgiving celebration that includes eating a dead turkey as part of the “celebration,” here are some tips on getting through it in one piece:
• Spread compassion through cruelty-free cuisine. Bring a vegan dish (or several) to share.
• Don’t feel as though you have to defend your veganism. If your Uncle Joe is poking fun at you, it could be because he’s grappling with his own conscience. Extend compassion to him, and rise above the petulance. (If he doesn’t lay off, however, calmly explain to him that it is deeply hurtful for him to put you down.)
• Unless you were born vegan, there was a time when you also consumed animal products. Keep that in mind, and also lead by example.
• Host a vegan Thanksgiving meal or potluck. You can invite your meat-eating friends and family to show them how tasty vegan food can be, or you might decide to celebrate with fellow animal advocates, using the meal as a way to provide solace to them, and to you, around the holidays. You might also choose to attend an inspiring event like our Celebration FOR the Turkeys.
• Keep your eye on the big picture. If you turn your angst into advocacy – all while taking care of yourself along the way so you can avoid activist burnout – you will feel good about your contribution, and you will also make a difference for the animals. Have a conversation with your family (not necessarily at the meal itself) about animal cruelty, and offer them resources to make personal changes.
This Tuesday, we’ll share some of your tips on how to have a compassionate Thanksgiving. Also, feel free to leave your tips and thoughts in the comments section below.
This Thanksgiving, we at Farm Sanctuary are grateful to you for all that you are doing to raise awareness, to change hearts and minds, and to advocate compassion. Thank you!