General Question

comity's avatar

How can I make our Thanksgiving Dinner acceptable to all?

Asked by comity (2832points) November 19th, 2011

One set of children who are Vegans will not eat over other family members homes who serve Turkey, even though there will be food for the vegan members of the family to eat. They will only have Thanksgiving at their home where Vegan Food is served and they say all are welcome. But, my other children don’t want to go there and Thanksgiving has become a very sad holiday for me now. Any ideas on how I can possibly affect change?

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39 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Fix them a frozen container of Stouffers Mac and Cheese.

Love it or leave it.

janbb's avatar

@john65pennington Read the question; they won’t accept that.

That is a very sad situation and I feel for you. Have you talked to them about any ways they might compromise? If the rest of the family really wants turkey on that day, maybe you can have Thanksgiving without them and then a day right after that is vegan with the whole family. It does sound like they are being very rigid if vegan food will be provided for them!

Aethelflaed's avatar

Tell them that you wish politics didn’t have to get in the way of family coming together, seeing as how you also have some political views they are in violation of, but don’t let it get in the way of a greater message of love and bonding.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Are they objecting to the serving of non-vegan food to others even though they will have vegan food to eat? If they feel that no one else can properly prepare vegan food, why don’t they supply some vegan dishes to share?

@john65pennington : mac and cheese is not vegan. Vegan means no animal products, not even dairy.

Welcome to Fluther…

comity's avatar

We don’t all live near each other. My other two children live 9 hours away. They’re making a statement because so many Turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving, they say. I live nearby, so when my other children come to me for Thanksgiving, we miss not having the family together, but we do get together the next day. If I travel to the other children, they’re not there. Makes me ever so sad!!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, dear, this does sound difficult. I appreciate the effort they are making, but I tend to object to the imposition of one’s values on others. My daughter is a vegetarian, I always have plenty of things for her to eat, and she knows not to object to the turkey on the table.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s too bad they are so stringent, if they were my kids then they’d be having dinner alone. Don’t beat yourself up, they could easily bring their own foods and join the rest of you but right now their turkey protest is more important than visiting with family/friends. Their call.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @Neizvestnaya

Having strong convictions about something is good, being control freaks and not allowing a Turkey on the table for other family members is going too far.

I’d let them have their own Thanksgiving and you have yours the way you want to.

People! Bah!

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see how them taking a stand about turkeys being killed saves another turkey? All it means is the dead turkey you are going to eat is not in the same room as them.

Now, if I had vegans at the table I would not carve the bird at the table or display it in any way. I would bring it out already sliced. But, that will not solve the dilemma you have it seems.

Can they come for dessert as a compromise?

Another way to look at it is go ahead and give in so the family is together and don’t have a turkey. Have all the other sides. Let them have their way, eat the turkey a different day over the weekend.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Maybe you could compromise – they come, and you agree to donate 50 bucks (or however much you can afford) to an animal rights group of their choice?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Sound very self righteous and spoiled to me.

Source: former vegan and current vegetarian who doesn’t try to control other people.

Tell them to go to hell

comity's avatar

They won’t come for dessert as a compromise on Thanksgiving Day. I’d give in and not have a Turkey but my other children say “no” they shouldn’t dictate how we have to eat. They will get together with us if my other children are here the day after Thanksgiving, but there’s such tension. I’m 75 years old and the whole situation just makes me sad and tired. I thought that next year I’ll visit my other kids for Thanksgiving, the following year the Vegans and so on. The family’s separated over vegetarian philosophy!

Coloma's avatar


What happens at Christmas?
Ham, eggnog, more turkey. haha ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@comity What a shame. It is a horrible power struggle. I find a lot of tension in families are over power struggles. Is the vegan the one in the family who always felt she wasn’t the favorite and the other kids always got everything their way? Is it just a classic psychological expirement for her to prove she was the one always left out and never heard?

I personally don’t get all worked up about seeing family on the holiday day. But, most people do, I realize I am the minority. The airlines, gas pumps, stores, and hotels take advantage of our desire to be somewhere on a certain day, that rubs me the wrong way, and I would rather spend a week off peak for the same money as the four days of Thanksgiving or few days for Christmas. I know that does not directly apply to you, because it doesn’t sound like you need a hotel, and if you are retired you probably can travel on Tuesday when there is no traffic.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Fuck em. They’re entitled to their views. They’re not entitled to pushing them on everyone else.

john65pennington's avatar

Please ignore my answer.

comity's avatar

to JLeslie – I don’t think it’s a power struggle as my son has always been close My daughter in law seems to be fine with us, had her family struggles, and is strong in her beliefs – I don’t understand why, unless they felt so left out on Thanksgiving that they’re getting even forever…..and that doesn’t depict my son’s personality – I’m confused and sad with the approaching holiday. And, then there’s my adorable 2½ year old grandaughter who I would love to have memories of family get-togethers

janbb's avatar

So sad. Maybe Thanksgiving just isn’t the time when you’re whole family can be together? Is there another time that isn’t so “bird-centric” that you can all make as the annual get together day. New Year’s Day? Have you talked to your son without your DIL there about your feelings of sorrow and compromises that might be reached?

I really empathize with you. I completely understand your feelings.

JilltheTooth's avatar

How new are they to the vegan thing? I have found that very often when people have recently started any different kind of program, dietary or otherwise, they go through a “commando” stage, where they are absolute in their feelings on a subject and want everyone to feel that way also. Maybe they’ll relax their standards by next year, and although they may stay strict with their own choices, may not be so harsh on others.

comity's avatar

I’m new at this and rusty on the computer, but, I want to thank you all for your responses. They’ve been very helpful. Maybe my son and daughter in law are lost in their cause, and don’t see how it affects family. I might use this question and answer site to show them how others respond to the situation, and maybe then they’ll realize and compromise will be the answer. Wish me luck and keep on writing! Once again, thank you!

janbb's avatar

Great idea! Please update us if you do. Good luck!

And welcome to Fluther – we all love new, thoughtful people!

JLeslie's avatar

I think @janbb answer was fantastic. A holiday everyonencan be happy, and take the emphasis off Thanksgiving. Maybe suggest it to everyone, amd you all can agree. Maybe your son will realize how important it is to you to have everyone together.

I believe you when you say they are not using it as a power struggle, it was just a thought.

Welcome to fluther!

Coloma's avatar

I’ve evolved into the same space as @JLeslie

I divorced almost 9 years ago now and so also ended up divorcing a lot of extended family on my ex’s side, of which his mother was very controlling over how the holidays went. The last number of years I have happily detached from the whole scene, it’s just not that important to me anymore and I am very flexible with what days I hostess the celebration with my daughter and her boyfriend.
She, however, is in the midst of power struggles and recently had her grandmother on her dads side have a complete breakdown of her choosing the spend this years hoildays with her boyfriends family and here.

Her grandmother laid every trip in the book on her. Accusing her of not caring about them, guilt tripping, and, finally, literally, ordering her that she WILL be there for Christmas.

I was very proud of my girl, who at 24 is far more assertive than I was in the same situation at her age.

I think it is very important to remember that things change in life. Circumstances change, and accepting these realities is part of our ongoing need to remain adaptable and flexible.

I just combined my daughters 24th B-day with a “mock” Thanksgiving here last week on the 16th. We are still in process of picking a day for Xmas here. My birthday is the day after Xmas and so, often we combine our celebration with my B-Day on the 26th, or, we do our Xmas early and then have a birthday thing on the 26th.

It’s all good, and the actual day is not as important as working things out so everyone is relaxed and not stressed.

The sooner we learn to let go of elevated expectation and hype and control, the more free we become to really just in-joy the moments of togetherness and celebration regardless of whether or not the fall into the “should” category.
“Don’t should on yourself, or others” is a good mantra to live by. ;-)

comity's avatar

Coloma – Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should just let go of the day, but then I have a son who is bothered and another son who seems to have given up and dines with friends. Its a sad situation, but one has to let go and move on. Life is way too short (75 yrs old). The day after Thanksgiving we’ll get together with the Vegans and the son who is bothered that he travelled 9 hours and didn’t get to share the holiday with his brother. He’s sounding very annoyed now, but he’ll probably calm down when we see him. New Years Day might be the answer for us all to get together and share.

Coloma's avatar


It’s a difficult adjustment for people at times yes, but….you have to take care of yourself and your feelings too, doing anything in a strained fashion cancels out the happy factor.
Duty, obligation, guilt, anger, all are counter productive to communion with others.

Jeez, I am only not quite 52 and I don’t miss a thing about all those years of forced celebration. Bah Humbug is right! haha

I’d let the kiddos figure out how to handle it and say that you’re open to suggestion.

Best wishes! :-)

comity's avatar

Sent a copy of this site to my son who is the Vegan yesterday morning. Haven’t heard back. We’ll all get together at other times and we are in December. My other son wants to continue the tradition of Thanksgiving with family. I agree especially for the sake of the grandkids. Why should they miss out? So, next year I’ll join in Thanksgiving with my non vegan families, the year after with my Vegan family and so on. Not thrilled that we’re separated, but, it’s time to move on!

janbb's avatar

@comity Thanks for the update. It sucks but what can one do? Sounds like a decent enough solution. My family has been rent apart this year and we will not be spending the holidays together.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if it were a different reason behind why the entire family is not together if it would be more acceptable?

comity's avatar

Sure! I have friends I want to visit this year, other family obligations, etc. But, “I will never go to anyone else’s house again on Thanksgiving. Just my home, vegan food, no Turkey”. But, all are welcome! Well, that’s hard to understand and accept, but I’ll try!

JLeslie's avatar

@comity Don’t get me wrong, I think they are being very rigid. Rigid usually does not work well in relationships.

comity's avatar

JLeslie No Problem You didn’t say anything wrong. I’m just having trouble dealing with the situation and I must. Everything will work out and my kids will have to figure it out, so that the cousins (grandkids) enjoy one another at family get togethers whenever. Any who how, thanks for letting me vent. I needed to talk to someone and didn’t want to burden friends and family.

ccrow's avatar

Aw, @comity, that’s too bad. I also like to get my whole family together on holidays… my oldest son is vegetarian but not vegan, but he has no problem with whatever the rest of us eat. It’s really too bad they seem to be putting politics before family. When I was growing up, my parents had a family gathering between Christmas and New Years Day(the weekend between, when there was one) which worked well for everyone until grandkids started going their own ways. I think sometimes our kids just don’t realize how much it means to moms to have everyone together.

JLeslie's avatar

@comity Fluther is a great place to vent. :).

gailcalled's avatar

Repeating myself, but happy to do so, here is a view of our holiday dinner. My sister was hoping that the turkey would ride his bike over and sit with us at table, but alas, that is not to be. But there will be enough to keep everyone happy and well-fed. (Even the 5 year old who is eating only chicken, pop corn, edamame beans and soy milk.)

However, it might be the last time we have 24 at table in our neck of the woods. It’s time for the next generation to take over.

comity's avatar

gailedcalled -Love the photo – It’s right on target -wish I could copy it and send it to family.

Coloma's avatar


Haha, great cartoon! Maybe I should let Marwyn host the dinner sometime. Corn, bread and hearts or Romaine with dandelion greens. A gooses Thanksgiving delight, along with gratitude for not being roasted and smothered in plum sauce. lol

Coloma's avatar

Gail…you’re talking to yourself, does your brain need more protein? ;-D

comity's avatar

Gail- What I also liked in the cartoon is that they’re managing inspite of their differences, and eating together as a family! Aaah!

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