This is my first real holiday as a Vegan and to be honest, I am absolutely terrified. For the past 3 years I have gotten so much shit from my family about being a Vegetarian. At least then I could still eat everything but the turkey... but now I am totally screwed. I don't want to stress anyone else out just because I choose to pet animals, not eat them. It all sounds so innocent, until everyone suddenly becomes a registered Dietician and an expert on protein. I'll keep a tally of how many times someone asks where I get my protein from and I guarantee it will be over 50. This is not an exaggeration.
So I've come up with a game plan just incase things get awkward... which I am almost certain they will.
1)Make Your Own Food
If you can, make at least one dish. This is sort of like a peace offering so they don't maul you to shreds. I guarantee that this will help because at least you made the effort to make things go smoothly. I'm making a dish that's usually eaten at Thanksgiving, but in Vegan form. This can also be an opportunity to show your family that eating Vegan can taste exactly like (ok, not exactly) normal food.
2) Be Polite and Easy
For most people, a simple "No, thank you" will suffice. Not in my family. It'll probably take about 30 "No, thank you"s and a dozen explanations on why I don't eat anything with a face. If all else fails, I'll strap them down and make them watch Food, Inc. Don't make your family members go out of their way to work around your diet. It's your choice, not theirs. If they have salad, which I'm sure they will, shut up and eat that. Your host is probably stressed out enough as it is.
This is my sister. I'm probably going to hide behind her like a puppy until we get past the eating portion mostly because my grandmother scares me. It's one of those things where she cares so much about my health that she forms it in threatening words?.. Also, thank said supportive family member a million and one times. It's hard to find people that will deal with my bullshit.
4) Inform the Person Making the Food BEFORE the Event
Nothing is more embarrassing than when someone offers you 30 different types of food and you have to reject every single one. And frankly, you look like an asshole. If my family doesn't already know, I'll make a point to clarify that I basically eat like a glorified Koala. ("That spruce tree out back will do just fine.")
The main point in all of this is to take this day as an opportunity to make everyone realize that they don't have to work around your diet. The easier you make it for everyone else, the easier it will be on yourself. Holidays are already stressful enough, don't make it even harder.
Animals are friends, not food.