Ever just feel like giving up holiday meals altogether? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-05-2013, 07:31 PM
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So, I'm not really looking forward to the holiday season this year, with regards to food. Last year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family - it was my first all vegan - but like 15th or 18th veg so you'd think my family would be used to my diet, but vegan was one step too far for them and my family was a TOTAL pain. 

 

See my last year Thanksgiving nightmare post

 

So, event planning is already underway this year and here's how it went so far:

 

Aunt: Can we have Thanksgiving at my house this year.

Me: Sure, I'll just bring some vegan food - it's no big deal.

Aunt: Yes it is - it's hard for everyone to understand your diet.

Me: Well, they don't have to understand it. Again, I'll bring food and food isn't the biggest deal - it's being with family. 

Aunt: Food IS a big deal. Since you went vegan it's too hard...

 

OMG. I can see this is going to be another whopper of a season. I'm SO not interested at this point.

 

My aunt also told me that she was really mad at me last Christmas because my brother cooked - I didn't bring food after the Thanksgiving nonsense, I just nibbled on stuff - veggies and such, then ate at home later. Anyhow my brother made ham then asked my boyfriend why he didn't take any and he said because Jennifer and I don't eat ham and my aunt said that made her mad because we openly snubbed my brother's food, after he spent ALL day cooking.

 

THIS after I spent all day cooking Thanksgiving last year and had to hear comment after comment, including, "Vegan is French for weird" about a million times from my aunt. I told her that it was lame to be mad about the ham after everyone made fun of me on Thanksgiving, all day long, and she said, "Oh, I thought we were just being clever and funny on Thanksgiving." What!

 

Anyhow, I'm seriously so thinking of not making one damn thing on the holidays this year - or maybe celebrating a different day with my son and son alone. Has anyone given up holiday meals since going vegan?

 

Any ideas. I've tried talking to everyone - pointing out that holiday food is less important than being together - and other tactics. Nothing works with these people. They just flat out hate vegan and think it's just to make their lives harder vs. a choice I've made for myself. 

 

I'm so frustrated. Someone tell me that eventually vegan holidays get easier! 


~ Jennifer
 
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#2 Old 11-05-2013, 07:47 PM
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:hug:

 

Ugh I remember your post from last year. Tough crowd. You know, it would be a happier thanksgiving for everyone if people just stopped complaining and did their best to accomodate each other without getting a stick up their butt. They're just offended when you don't eat the food because the realize they didn't think about you, it's really them insecure with themselves. But totally it would get frustrating.

 

You don't have an obligation to do anything. That aunt is cray cray and I would probably not want her around for the next family meal o_o 

 

I have my own thanksgiving issues at my school. Last year it was pretty...LAAAAAMEEEEE. They said they were serving tofurky...whatever I saw was not tofurky. And THIS is why people just laugh at vegetarians ughhhhhhhhhhhhh.


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#3 Old 11-05-2013, 07:59 PM
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:hug:

 

Ugh I remember your post from last year. Tough crowd. You know, it would be a happier thanksgiving for everyone if people just stopped complaining and did their best to accomodate each other without getting a stick up their butt. They're just offended when you don't eat the food because the realize they didn't think about you, it's really them insecure with themselves. But totally it would get frustrating.

 

You don't have an obligation to do anything. That aunt is cray cray and I would probably not want her around for the next family meal o_o 

 

I have my own thanksgiving issues at my school. Last year it was pretty...LAAAAAMEEEEE. They said they were serving tofurky...whatever I saw was not tofurky. And THIS is why people just laugh at vegetarians ughhhhhhhhhhhhh.

 

The problem with my family is how small it is. I have two siblings, a nephew, a son, one aunt and one uncle, plus a best friend who is like a sister - so ANY discord is a huge deal. None of them minus my son and I are vegan or even vegetarian. 

 

I know everyone who has read my posts for a while have seen me complain about my aunt - and she's terrible about vegan food for sure, but she's still my closet family member and like a grandma to my son - my son adores her. I actually adore her.

 

My siblings and I don't have parents and my aunt, who by the way, just to be clear, is not blood related - she's the sister of a boyfriend my mom had when I was four years old, adopted my brother when he was 13 when our parents abandoned us, and is overall an amazing person. Something I continually tell myself when food stuff comes up. 

 

She's good in so many ways - but when it comes to food she freaks out. I don't get it? She's older so maybe stuck in her ways. What I cannot do it dump what little family I have due to holiday food issues. Though, ask me again after Thanksgiving and maybe my answer will be different! 

 

I think the food issue is present because I used to do a lot of the cooking, which they were fine with when I was vegetarian, but the vegan changes are too much for them. It shouldn't be, but it is. 

 

That's too bad about your school - do you stay there for Thanksgiving? 


~ Jennifer
 
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#4 Old 11-05-2013, 08:03 PM
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Oh Jen hug.gif

I was raised by my dad, and for as long as I can remember holidays have just been the two of us. Whenever we went to family's homes for holidays, my dad had to justify our veganism. It was a NIGHTMARE for him to justify how he's feeding his daughter, especially as a single parent.

Now, we spend holidays far away from family. This year we're camping in the Hoh rainforest over Christmas, and thanksgiving he'll be in Portland with me and the nonhumans.

I think you should keep reminding yourself that your aunt is the one with the problem - not you. She has no right to make you feel bad about personal decisions you make. Your gift is writing, yea? Write her a letter explaining how you are feeling. Dont lay it at her or accuse her, but keep it focused on you and your hurt.

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#5 Old 11-05-2013, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jennifer C View Post
 

 

The problem with my family is how small it is. I have two siblings, a nephew, a son, one aunt and one uncle, plus a best friend who is like a sister - so ANY discord is a huge deal. None of them minus my son and I are vegan or even vegetarian. 

 

I know everyone who has read my posts for a while have seen me complain about my aunt - and she's terrible about vegan food for sure, but she's still my closet family member and like a grandma to my son - my son adores her. I actually adore her.

 

My siblings and I don't have parents and my aunt, who by the way, just to be clear, is not blood related - she's the sister of a boyfriend my mom had when I was four years old, adopted my brother when he was 13 when our parents abandoned us, and is overall an amazing person. Something I continually tell myself when food stuff comes up. 

 

She's good in so many ways - but when it comes to food she freaks out. I don't get it? She's older so maybe stuck in her ways. What I cannot do it dump what little family I have due to holiday food issues. Though, ask me again after Thanksgiving and maybe my answer will be different! 

 

I think the food issue is present because I used to do a lot of the cooking, which they were fine with when I was vegetarian, but the vegan changes are too much for them. It shouldn't be, but it is. 

 

That's too bad about your school - do you stay there for Thanksgiving? 


Oh dang so you're like adopted o.O o.O interesting.

 

That's good that you can deal with her though.

 

Nah, everyone who doesn't live in certain dorms is required to go home. They just have a thanskgiving meal before we go.


"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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#6 Old 11-05-2013, 08:26 PM
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Oh Jen hug.gif


Now, we spend holidays far away from family. This year we're camping in the Hoh rainforest over Christmas, and thanksgiving he'll be in Portland with me and the nonhumans.
Your gift is writing, yea? Write her a letter explaining how you are feeling. Dont lay it at her or accuse her, but keep it focused on you and your hurt.

 

Camping sounds great! The letter idea is a good one. I'm better on paper. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4everaspirit View Post
 


Oh dang so you're like adopted o.O o.O interesting.

 

That's good that you can deal with her though.

 

Nah, everyone who doesn't live in certain dorms is required to go home. They just have a thanskgiving meal before we go.

 

I'm not adopted. My loony toons mom kicked me and my brother and sister out but at the time I was old enough (16) to live with my aunt's mom, then just got an apartment with a friend. My sister was old enough to live with a friend too but my brother was kicked out at age 12, so he was very young and my aunt (plus my sister and I) took my mom to court to gain custody and my aunt eventually adopted him. Considering she's not even blood related, I consider that amazing. 

 

I love her, but the food issues drive me mad. 

 

I'm glad you're not stuck at school for the whole holiday! 


~ Jennifer
 
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#7 Old 11-06-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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Oh dear, Jen, I'm so sorry! That does sound like a nightmare! This is our first Thanksgiving as vegetarians and we always host, so it'll be different.  Our family is actually pretty amazing about it, though.  My mom has been vegetarian for years, so she's typically been the odd one out at gatherings. Now it's her, Vickie and me together, and everyone else is the odd ones out! Lol!

 

I sent out the invite yesterday and just let everyone know that we will be providing lots of delicious non-meat dishes, but if anyone wants to bring something meat they may do so.  We just won't buy it or cook it. 

 

I hope this year goes better for you, Jen!  Big hugs to you!:hug:

 

Larissa

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#8 Old 11-06-2013, 01:10 PM
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   Thanksgiving is this fascinating US thing to me, seen in films and the like. Sounds nice with all the family gathering, but I can imagine that the turkey thing can be a real pain- people just don't understand, often, and seem especially disbelieving on special occasions. How many times have I been asked what I eat for Christmas dinner......

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#9 Old 11-06-2013, 01:29 PM
 
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I have self-excluded myself from all holidays two years ago, for reasons having nothing to do with veg*sm. Itis very hard, because I've never made it official and everyone keeps asking me if I’m coming. While we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I will not be attending the Christmas celebrations on my mom’ side. Instead, I am planning a vegan supper for my mother-in-law, and I'll make short visits to my mom, my dad, etc.

I know it won't be enough, and I'll hear about it for years, but that's a survival issue for me. So there. I feel for you.

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#10 Old 11-07-2013, 03:38 AM
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Initially I was thoroughly outraged at this selfish woman's controlling ways, and was all for you telling her to go shove it! Then I read through and saw how important a part of your life she's been and still is. 

 

Tough one, but I think in light of the major way she's put herself out for you and your siblings in the past and presumably the role she plays in your own kid's life, I think you've probably just got to soak up her being obnoxious about your diet for one day or three or four or whatever it is a year.

 

I think also, best to try not engaging in discussions about it if possible, let her have her say and just say "OK I understand that's how you feel." and leave it at that instead of giving her anything to respond to. Shut the discussion off - politely as possible - at every opportunity. Or just nod and then change the subject. Or say "I'm not discussing this any more." and maintain silence when provoked. There's only so long a person can conduct an argument with you if faced with the same non-response over and over again.

 

Don't tell her "it isn't a big deal" if she's convinced it is, it just gives her something to bite, just accept that's how she feels and let it stay at that. It's OK to allow someone else to have the last word if you don't want to fight over something. Even if you know they're being obnoxious and wrong-headed. At least so long as you don't actually have to live with them all the time anyway!


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#11 Old 11-07-2013, 06:01 AM
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Initially I was thoroughly outraged at this selfish woman's controlling ways, and was all for you telling her to go shove it! Then I read through and saw how important a part of your life she's been and still is. 

 

Tough one, but I think in light of the major way she's put herself out for you and your siblings in the past and presumably the role she plays in your own kid's life, I think you've probably just got to soak up her being obnoxious about your diet for one day or three or four or whatever it is a year.

 

I think also, best to try not engaging in discussions about it if possible, let her have her say and just say "OK I understand that's how you feel." and leave it at that instead of giving her anything to respond to. Shut the discussion off - politely as possible - at every opportunity. Or just nod and then change the subject. Or say "I'm not discussing this any more." and maintain silence when provoked. There's only so long a person can conduct an argument with you if faced with the same non-response over and over again.

 

Don't tell her "it isn't a big deal" if she's convinced it is, it just gives her something to bite, just accept that's how she feels and let it stay at that. It's OK to allow someone else to have the last word if you don't want to fight over something. Even if you know they're being obnoxious and wrong-headed. At least so long as you don't actually have to live with them all the time anyway!

 

You've totally captured my rock and a hard place situation with her!  Who adopts a 13 year old who is totally troubled and takes care to make sure his siblings are ok too? Especially when there's zero blood between them. She may drive me nuts about food, but you can't really write off her actions in the past because they changed my life. She's done so much for my siblings (and me) that honestly, there's no way I could ever pay her back. Ever.  This is exactly why I've spent so many years volunteering with at risk youth - pay it forward at least, if I can't pay her back.

 

I'm really getting to the point where leaving it at, "OK I understand that's how you feel" is likely the best option. I've had about four holiday meal discussions with her over the last two weeks. In the last one, I finally fessed up that the whole "Vegan is French for weird" was NOT funny to me and made me not want to have holiday meals at all. She actually said, in our last conversation, "Maybe I wasn't being as funny as I thought" which is a big step I think. 

 

I don't think I've been as honest with her as I've been with people here - about how upset I get due to all the teasing on holidays because it's hard for me to keep discussing it. Maybe it's good she got so mad about us refusing ham last year, because she's VERY protective of my brother, thus that was the thing that made her realize what happens when people are, in her mind, "attacked" when it comes to food. 

I'm still not crazy about the upcoming holidays this year - not food wise anyhow, but maybe it'll be better this year? I see her a lot - not just on holidays and she's not nearly as crazed about my food choices when it's not a holiday, so maybe the holidays just stress her out. To me, the food issues under-shadow the other stuff she's done, yet, I still get so frustrated with her. I just want a decent holiday. It's nuts that when I was vegetarian they were all just fine. I don't see why dairy and eggs should matter so much that they screw with the holidays. Actually - maybe I should tell her that. Or not... Hmmm. 

 

Thanks everyone - you've all been really helpful! 

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#12 Old 11-07-2013, 09:52 AM
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Families are hard.

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#13 Old 11-07-2013, 10:42 AM
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Families are hard.

Amen to that. With my family, if it weren't for all the alcohol I'm not sure we could get through it, and that's completely aside from the food issues.

 

This is my sixth Thanksgiving without eating turkey. The first year, I just didn't want to make a thing of it and assumed nobody would be paying attention to what was on my plate. This turned out to be accurate. The second year, everyone knew by then I was off meat, and my mother was a little hurt that I wasn't going for the tomato aspic she'd made. She got over it. The third year, my sister who was hosting asked me two questions ahead off time: Do you ever make exceptions? and Would you please consider making an exception this one time? She didn't get all bent out of shape with the two No's, and also I knew where she was coming from: Some family had left the region, and there were fewer people left to eat turkey.

 

Though she hosted Thanksgiving more times in the next few years she never again pressured me to have meat. And all along I was quietly swapping out soy milk for cow's milk, and ener-g for eggs, in the sides and desserts I was contributing. So people were liking them without experiencing them as vegan dishes. I think this helps a lot. If people associate you with good-tasting food, as opposed to what they love to call rabbit food, they will give what you bring the benefit of the doubt, especially if you don't announce the swapped-out ingredients. The time for the big reveal is when they ask for the recipe; who knew Colonial Peanut Soup would be just as good without the cow cream and beef stock? 

 

I don't host these things, ever. But typically, between me and my son we bring bread, salad, stuffed portabello mushrooms , "zucchini tots," vegan gravy, and pecan pie. So yeah, kind of a trunkful of feast, I'd say. In one year like that, I happened to read my sister's blog that was all about her sister -- me -- who was "on the Skinny ***** diet" (a foul lie) and how she went to the trouble to put aside a bit of stuffing for me before adding the sausage and turkey stock to the rest of the mix. And her blogger buddies wrote in one after another praising how accommodating she was, and adding their asides about what a pain vegetarians can be. Weirdly, I was almost as amused as annoyed, and kind of enjoyed busting on her for that later. And most lately, which I've written about here, friends of friends have shown up to my sister's Thanksgiving and brought food they knew I could eat, without ever having met me. To the point of having shopped for vegan marshmallows for their yam dishes, even.  Maybe some of us should be making "It gets better" videos about family Thanksgivings.

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#14 Old 11-07-2013, 10:42 AM
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Families certainly can be hard, had my fare share of intense and troubling family issues! Though there have also been people that have totally 'been there for me' at times I needed support. So it goes both ways.

 

I think it's worth objectively weighing up exactly how important people are to you when making decisions about whether or not to confront or potentially alienate them over issues you may have with them, as well as try to objectively ascertain out how big that issue *really* is. Of course it helps if you don't have super touchy people around - I'm fortunate that I've never had weird controlling folks. Mostly they just leave me alone!

 

Some family members I've happily exiled into 'liability / loser / user', others are 'maintain some kind of occasional contact', and others are 'I tolerate your crap because I love you'.

 

I'm exactly the same with friends, I make decisions about tolerating other people's crap not so much based on an empathetic understanding of their personal problems / relationship issues / troubled childhood etc., but just on the basis of do I like them enough to accept them along with their crap in my life (and to what extent can I control the impact that their crap has on it)?


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#15 Old 11-07-2013, 11:33 AM
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Maybe some of us should be making "It gets better" videos about family Thanksgivings.

 

Ha ha ha! That's so true. Best laugh all day. 


~ Jennifer
 
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#16 Old 11-07-2013, 04:17 PM
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For everyone having a hard time during the holidays,:hug:  For family member who give you Sh...grief over your dietary habits, they can kiss my @, uh, armpit. Jennifer, you might want to check out funbeach.com for good deals out there. It's the Long Beach Peninsula, and we've gone there over Thanksgiving many times. I will warn you, I am off kilter, and love going to the WA coast during the late autumn winter seasons...I hope you and your family find some peaceful middle ground. Good luck, everyone.

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#17 Old 11-28-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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I am going away tonight…, I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.

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#18 Old 11-29-2013, 11:25 AM
 
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Jennifer now that Thanksgiving is over, I'd love to hear now it went for you this year? Being as this year is my first as a vegan, I had a hard time at my bf's parent's celebration yesterday as I'd feared I might. Hope things go more smoothly next year.
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#19 Old 11-29-2013, 12:26 PM
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I do not have this problem, I will continue experience every holiday alone.

 

I think I no longer understand the meaning of love in Holidays such as, "Thanksgiving," "Christmas." and "Valentines."

 

Remember, not everyone has a family, and my friends are only acquaintances. The world is very lonely like an empty airport.

 

My departure ready.

Come to our house for Christmas! We are loud and obnoxious, have vegan-only food in the house, do not have tons of stupid wasteful gifts, and laugh a lot. smiley.gif
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