We all know Thanksgiving is about two things: family and food. Sadly, our family doesn’t always understand our food choices, and they may even be offended when we turn down their painstakingly prepared dead bird. These tips will help you have a delicious, fun Thanksgiving without offending anyone!


Call whoever is hosting Thanksgiving and make sure they KNOW you’re vegan. This is just a courtesy so they won’t be shocked when you refuse the turkey. Be sure to be very nice. If they want to make special dishes for you, that’s lovely! However, it’s always better (especially with older relatives) to make sure they know that they aren’t obligated to cook anything special if they don’t want to.

thanksgiving turkey tombstones

Every family is different. My aunt offered to make vegan gravy for me, but the rest of the meal was laced with animal products.

2. Decide which dishes you CAN’T live without.

I personally go crazy for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Pick the dishes you MUST have on Thanksgiving and make them yourself! There are tons of recipes on peta2.com, PETA.org, and other vegan sites. The ones below are quick, easy, and delicious!

Savory Pumpkin-Bacon Cheese Ball

Bake’n Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Rosemary-Lemon Brussels Sprouts

3. Make enough for everyone to try.

I can’t stress this enough! You’ll be amazed by how fast your friends and fam swoop in on your vegan stuffing. Making enough for everyone stops you from becoming the isolated vegan eating your own separate meal.

Encourage everyone to partake in the yummy, cruelty-free goodness. Your skeptical family will be shocked at how delicious compassion can taste!

4. Avoid preaching.

Your family will most likely be interested in (and hopefully open to) your decision to live cruelty-free. They may have lots of questions for you. Sometimes, it can be difficult to answer these questions without getting frustrated. Last Thanksgiving, my aunt told me that there were plenty of leaves outside for me to eat.

Remain calm! Take a deep breath and simply explain your reasons for leaving animals off your plate without sounding preachy. peta2’s list of vegan Thanksgiving comebacks can help!

5. Have fun and focus on family.

Seeing that dead bird lying in the middle of the dinner table may make you uncomfortable. But try your best to focus on your own (amazing!) vegan food and topics of conversation that don’t relate to dead animals.

The best way to lead is by example. Your family and friends will see you living happily and conscientiously and realize that a vegan lifestyle doesn’t make you “crazy” or “radical.” Who knows? You may even convince one of them to give it a try!

Need some entertainment during your Thanksgiving break? Download the peta2 app!