Vegan Holiday Survival Guide

Dec 20, 2023

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
By Tiffany Bruno, Director of Education at Switch4Good


For many people, holidays are the perfect time to gather, create memories, and enjoy the company of loved ones. But while some people look forward to it all year, others may dread certain family conversations around sensitive subjects, such as politics, why you’re not married with kids yet, or your plant-based diet. (Brush up on our tips for approaching these challenging conversations).

Some people may feel ostracized because of their values or what they are putting (or not putting) on their plate. We’re here to offer you tips on keeping Peace on Earth this holiday season, or during any gathering.

Holiday Meals

Food is often the center of any gathering. Offer to bring at least one dish to share with everyone. This is a great opportunity to showcase how delicious dairy-free and plant-based food is! Plus, it guarantees you will not go hungry if you are the only vegan present.

It’s a good idea to ask the host for guidance– as delicious as your pumpkin pie may be, your event doesn’t need three different versions when you could just as easily bring a side dish instead.

Here are some more great recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers:

Easy Dairy-Free Holiday Beverages

Creamy Garlic Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Savory Carrot Latkes With Dairy-Free Ranch

Decadent Dairy-Free Chocolate Pretzel Pie

Kara Lang’s Holiday Party Recipes

Don’t have time to cook? Put together a dairy-free cheese board with crackers, grapes, jams, and olives for a quick and easy grazing board all the guests will love.

Vegan mashed potatoes for the holidays

Why Compromise is Important

Look for compromises. Maybe your family is not willing to skip their traditional holiday roast, but the sides and desserts can be entirely plant-based. It’s a step in the right direction and the effort can be appreciated by both sides.

However, you may still find yourself uncomfortable at times. If you can’t stand to sit next to someone gnawing at a turkey leg like a dog, it’s okay to own these emotions and switch seats. Or excuse yourself to go for a quick walk and reset. There’s a high chance no one will even notice because they’ll be consumed with themselves and the commotion that comes with holidays.

Start a New Tradition

There are plenty of ways to spend quality time with your loved ones that do not involve food. You can explore a local trail or park, go ice skating, have a game or craft night, or see a local show, to name a few. By taking the focus off of food, you can better enjoy the company and experience.

Additionally, is there a local vegan group you can have an event with so you feel less alone in your plant-based journey? Connecting with like-minded people can bring a sense of community as well as new friendships. Plan an event separate from the actual holiday so you can double up on the celebration and festivities.

Family hiking as a holiday tradition

Prepare to Make Travel Smooth

Airports, gas stations, and the like are not known for their fine dining options. You may struggle to find anything plant-based beyond an overpriced bag of pretzels. To avoid getting hangry, try to pack your meals, or at least snacks that contain all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat).

It’s always smart to pack a few extra non-perishable items like trail mix, dried fruit, or bars in case of travel delays, which are all but inevitable around the holidays. If your plans go perfectly and you don’t need to dip into your stash of backups, save them for your return trip so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Check out our Power Plate download for two pages dedicated to convenient travel snacks.

If you’ve been dairy-free and plant-based for a while, you’ve probably got your holiday routine down. What are your best tips? Let us know at [email protected].

Friends gathering for holiday meal

Download your FREE copy of our Dairy-free Swaps Guide for a comprehensive collection of recipes and tips!

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