Thanksgiving is definitely one of the holidays where being vegan can be an issue. I don’t have any extremely helpful tips for how to weather a Thanksgiving in a non-vegan household, mostly because it has never been a huge problem for us. The past seven years we have done a Thanksgiving at home, choosing to Skype with our families rather than make a harried plane trip to the West Coast for a few days. This means we have enjoyed an entirely vegan Thanksgiving dinner, which is always a treat. However, even before we did our own holiday, our families were always thoughtful about making sure I had plenty to eat. I still remember how touched and grateful I was when my mother-in-law prepared special stuffed peppers or bought tofurkey roasts for me when I joined them for their Thanksgiving feast. Really, being vegan at Thanksgiving has just meant that I don’t pass out on the couch from turkey overload, which is no loss.
For the past four years we have had a pretty regular Thanksgiving feast. A delicious seitan roast, mushroom gravy, garlicky-mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and pumpkin biscuits, all followed up with chocolate cream pie.
While this is our fourth year with this basic menu, this is the first year where LP understood that other people were eating turkey – and they didn’t mean “tofurky.” In the past year or so, he has really become more aware of what it means to be vegan, and that most people around us are not vegan. For the most part I think that, for him, being vegan has just meant remembering that we don’t eat things that come from animals, and that he should check and make sure any food he is offered is “animal-product free.” So, I was a little surprised when his preschool sent home a LOVELY poem that listed all the things the kids had said they were thankful for. It was super nice to read about all the kids being thankful for family, friends, food, and, of course, transformers and Elsa dresses. But LP was apparently thankful for “veggies and live turkeys.”
If you have read about my vegan journey, you will know that I did not become vegan for ethical reasons. It was only later in my journey that I started to make the connection between animal products and the suffering that occurred in order for me to consume these foods. While I don’t truly know how much of a connection between these two that LP has made, his thankfulness for “live turkeys” shows me that he at least has an appreciation for living animals that don’t end up on our plates.
LP’s sweet appreciation for “live turkeys” meant so much to me, but mostly it was a reminder to be thankful for the little things this holiday season. I’m thankful for the gift of watching my children grow into amazing and kind human beings. I’m thankful for a partner who not only keeps our children happy and safe, our household running, but also manages to find the best in me, even when I struggle. I’m thankful for things like safe water, electricity, and plenty of food, which I am privileged to have, even though I take them for granted. And, like my son, I am thankful for live turkeys.
May you also find love and gratitude this holiday season.