Whether this is your first Christmas being vegan or vegetarian or not, the festive period can be a daunting thought. A month pretty much dedicated to eating: from the awkward work do meal to the dead period between Christmas and New Year where the epic challenge to empty the fridge and cupboards begins (your mum just wanted to be absolutely sure you wouldn’t run out of food, I mean what if someone doesn’t like Christmas pudding, yule log or trifle?? We obviously need frozen profiteroles as back up).
It may not be the temptation of all the luxurious treats overflowing the cupboards, or even the smell of hot chocolate as you wander around the Christmas markets (which in my experience are not the most vegan friendly) hoping you will one day regain feeling in your fingers. The greatest challenge will likely be family meals. Since eating has always been such as social activity, it is easy to feel isolated when you have a different diet to your friends and family. Here’s how to keep calm and enjoy the festivities with your omnivorous loved ones.
So you’ve been invited for a meal at someone’s house…
It’s likely that whoever is cooking for you is starting to feel very stressed, racking their brains over what to make for you. It may seem simple to you, but remember you know a lot more about your own diet than they do! They will most likely say no, but you could offer to bring some food over to help out, or even offer suggestions for simple ways they could veganise the meal!
It’s the big day…
Instead of waiting until you get to the table and realising all the roasties (your all-time favourites) have been slathered with goose fat, help out! Whoever does the Christmas dinner, whether its mum, dad, grandma or your second cousin half removed, I’m sure they’d appreciate an extra pair of hands. Take a bit of responsibility and offer to help with the food shop, after all you’ll know what to look for!
Try this vegan cauliflower cheese, make some stuffing minus the pork; you could even have a go at making this nut roast! I may be being a little optimistic, but some of your family members may even plump for your veggie options instead!
Why not go a step further and offer to make pudding? You could even try to impress them with these indulgent vegan desserts by BBC good food!
And as always, be patient when your great aunt asks you if you are ‘allowed’ to eat Yorkshire puddings. Or your brother tells you it’s not Christmas without pigs in blankets. Just laugh along when your uncle makes jokes about you enjoying your grass as he tears into a turkey leg. Munch on your cruelty free feast, guilt-free, and enjoy spending time with your family; whether they felt it necessary to have an animal carcass as the table centerpiece or not.
About the Author: Gabi Everett is a second year Environmental Geography student at the University of York.