A vegetarian non-profit organisation gives advice to meat-eaters on how to make Christmas more enjoyable for the vegan family members. 'Give the Gift of Understanding' is a guide with a list of dos and don'ts has been published by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society this week.
What vegans really want from friends and family for Christmas?
The organisation explains that Christmas might be a 'challenging' time for vegans and non-vegans should take this into account. Seeing meat can be traumatic for plant-based eating guests.
'If your loved one is an animal lover, seeing meat can bring back memories of animal abuse they've witnessed, such as slaughterhouse footage that convinced them to change their lifestyle,' the guide suggests.
'These intrusive thoughts can be upsetting, and can make their experience of Christmas much different to that of the meat-eaters sitting at the table with them.'
How to make vegans feel welcome?
The best gift you can give is understanding and sharing vegan food with them to show them you support their choice. This includes serving them first and making sure no-one makes fun of their diet and lifestyle.
'If possible, make sure that they get served first. They probably won't jump to the front of the queue – so why not do it for them?' - the guide says.
It is also better to get in touch with vegan family members before dinner to discuss the menu.
'If you talk to them beforehand and ask them how you can accommodate them, you'll probably find that they arrive more relaxed.'
'If you want to prepare food that everyone can eat, your loved one will likely have some suggestions, and know some good recipes.’
This will make your feel vegans more welcome at Christmas dinner. Another suggestion is to make sure there is a variety of vegetable dishes to compensate for the lack of meat on their plates.
'You can say, 'I know Sarah can't eat everything here, so I just want to make sure she doesn't miss out.' Ask them what they'd like to eat, and make sure you give them generous portions.'
The guide said adopting these recommendations would make for a more joyful experience for vegan guests.