Hi guys and welcome to Vegmas day 1! I feel like I’ve been planning this series for so long, I can’t believe we’re finally at the point you’re actually reading it. For more information about what ’12 Days of Vegmas’ is going to entail, I gave an outline in yesterday’s post. As I mentioned yesterday, this post is about how to survive your first vegan Christmas. Tips for new vegans, and those who are trying to accommodate a vegan this Christmas.
I think this post is going to be both the easiest and the hardest in the series for me to write. There are a million things I want to tell you, I don’t want to miss anything. And of them all, this is the one I’m most passionate about getting right. These tips all come from first hand experience, everything I did right in my first year and things I wish I’d done. I’m going to split this into two parts, tips for vegans and tips for those hosting vegans. I have a feeling this could be a long one…
Tips for vegans
Try Meals in Advance
My biggest tip by far is to plan ahead and be prepared. My first vegan Christmas, I had mini Christmas once a week for about 6 weeks before the actual day. I tried one new recipe a week in an attempt to figure out exactly what I liked and didn’t like. Out of everything I did to prepare, this was the best decision I made. The last thing you want is to get to Christmas day, probably with several people asking if you’re missing the turkey, then not like what you’re eating. I didn’t make anything elaborate in the previous weeks, just different versions of the main dish with a few greens or something like that.
Look everywhere for inspiration
I started eating a vegan diet in June, so by the time Christmas came around, I already had my firm favourites for recipes. Do not stick to these people alone. Look places you would never normally look, search through all the veggie and vegan blogs, buy a magazine. I picked up a vegan magazine recently, just to see what the recipes were like. My first vegan Christmas, this wasn’t really an option. There were no vegan magazines readily available where I live. When I went to Tesco last week, they had five. Every single one had either a Christmas supplement or a cover story about festive recipes. They were all between £4 and £5 and definitely worth checking out if you’re struggling.
Tomorrow’s post is going to be a round-up of some of the recipes I’ve tried in the past with some feedback as to what worked and what didn’t. And I’ll be sharing my own Christmas dinner recipes in the last few days of Vegmas.
Yes, you read that right. Be selfish. This is hands down the biggest mistake I made my first vegan Christmas. I wasn’t selfish, and it wasn’t great. Usually, my family eats at my house. That year, my aunt had just bought a new house, it was the first time she’d had somewhere big enough to host everyone and wanted everyone to come to her that year. Her kitchen is quite small and I didn’t want my extra ‘just for me’ dish to take up unnecessary room, so I compromised. I didn’t have a proper vegan Christmas at her house, I had something small scale and we had a full vegan Christmas at mine on boxing day (December 26th for those unfamiliar).
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever felt like their dietary choices can be an inconvenience to others. It’s all well and good trying to compromise until you’re half way through and realise this will be every Christmas until the end of time unless you start to be more selfish. Once again, do not be afraid to be selfish.
Again, this is another one about having the oddball plate. Try to make enough of your dish so that others can try it too. Even if they’ve never had anything like that before, or don’t think they’ll like it, you’ll be surprised by how much curiosity gets the better of people when it’s in front of them. If you have too much, you have leftovers. No problem. If they try it and like it, even better. There’s nothing to lose.
Think of everything
I know this is tedious, but we all know Christmas is a time of overindulgence for most people. While everyone else is on course 300 and snack 1,000,000, make sure you have options too. If you’re somewhere else, bring snacks. If you’re home, make sure you have plenty of options. Even if you know you’re unlikely to have an appetite for it on the day, have something in just in case. The looks of pity when you say you can’t have something aren’t worth it. Saying I’ve got this but I’m full gets a much more positive response. Obviously, I’m not telling you to waste food here. I’m talking about things that can be eaten later.
Tips for non-vegans
These tips are mainly for people who are hosting someone who isn’t that close that will make them feel more comfortable. If the vegan in question is your sister or a close friend, these ‘awkward’ situations I’m about to talk about probably won’t be that awkward.
“Don’t you wish you had…?”
Be considerate. The person doesn’t eat this and that for whatever reason, don’t be that person who constantly asks about the animal products everyone else is having. I’m sure this is obvious for most people, but I can guarantee that the questions are nothing but annoying and the jokes probably aren’t funny.
Consider the vegan
If you’re hosting a vegan for Christmas dinner or another festive event, make something they can have as well. Little things like making the roast potatoes with oil rather than goose fat, or making a smaller batch with just oil go a long way. And if it’s for a festive event, but not Christmas dinner, have some vegan snacks. Options are always nice.
Tell them what they can have
One of the things that makes you feel awkward and annoying at first is constantly having to ask if this or that has x ingredient in. If you’ve gone to the effort of making something vegan or buying something vegan for your guest, tell them upfront. It’s a small gesture, but being told that you’ve been thought of in advance is much more welcoming than feeling like you have to ask every two minutes.
That’s it for my tips on how to survive your first vegan Christmas! I hope you found this somewhat useful, even if you’re not a vegan. If anyone else is vegan or has a close vegan, can think of anything I’ve missed please mention it below and help each other out!