Thanksgiving is the ultimate holiday—a mid-week reprieve from the hustle and bustle; a chance to eat, drink, and be merry with your nearest and dearest; and a great excuse to go shopping (hello Black Friday bargains!). But for many vegans, it’s also a day filled with notoriously non-cruelty-free food and all of those omnivore uncles, aunts, and in-laws who are just dying to dig in. This year, make Thanksgiving an occasion to celebrate by having Turkey Day your way with these four fun and festive ideas.
1. Celebrate Turkeys
Turkeys are highly-intelligent, personable, and curious animals, capable of recognizing each other’s voices and venturing hundreds of acres without getting lost—perhaps that’s why Benjamin Franklin believed they should be America’s national bird. Presently, Turkeys are big business for the animal agriculture industry, especially during the holiday season, so this Thanksgiving you may want to give a little extra back to the birds.
Every November, Farm Sanctuary hosts a Celebration for the Turkeys at its three sanctuaries, where guests partake in the Feeding the Turkeys ceremony, followed by a gourmet vegan feast and presentations by guest speakers. The Pasado’s Safe Haven in Sultan, WA has a similar event during which attendees feed the rescued Turkeys then dine on Field Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, wine, and apple cider. You may also want to consider getting your exercise on at the 2013 Tofurky Trot in Portland, OR. As you walk, trot, or run this 5K, you’ll be fundraising for local community causes that promote veganism. Of course, you can still help out the Turkeys from the comfort of your couch with Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project, where you can sponsor one of the gobbling guests that Farm Sanctuary has taken under its wing.
2. Veganize It! (Sort Of)
Your dairy- and meat-eating family and friends may decline your faux offerings as you dig in during your Thanksgiving feast, but you can still infuse some vegan ingredients into your communal meal. Instead of a block of butter, adorn the table with a tub of Earth Balance, and for recipes that call for milk, substitute it with healthier dairy-free alternatives such as almond, soy, or rice milk. Your guests will surely love this Mushroom Gravy recipe from Turtle Island Foods, and for side dishes, these Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits and Herbed Cream Collards will appease even the most staunch omnivore eaters. But don’t forget about dessert! Prepare a platter of these Candy Bar Cupcakes, or set out a plate of these scrumptious Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bars. No Turkey Day celebration is complete without the pumpkin pie. Your guests will be asking for seconds after digging into this Coconut Cream Pumpkin Pie, or you can make this dessert classic bite-size, with these Pumpkin Pie Truffles, courtesy of cruelty-free blogger Allyson Kramer. Who knows, maybe these enticing vegan options will sway your relatives to become plant-based proponents for next year’s Thanksgiving get-together.
3. Host Your Own
Host a vegan Thanksgiving with all of your closest friends. Schedule it a few days before the holiday so everyone will be able to attend. Challenge your omnivore friends to veganize their favorite Turkey Day dishes and get your friends who know their way around the kitchen to stop by the morning of or the night before to help you prepare. There’s no better way to give thanks and celebrate than with a delicious cocktail or two—just check out our mixed drink guide. These clever concoctions will keep Jack Frost at bay while they keep the party going.
4. Companion Compassion
What better day to be thankful for your four-legged family member than Turkey Day? Make Thanksgiving an occasion for interspecies indulgence with drool-worthy treats for your canine companion. Check out our DIY Dog Treat Guide, which includes recipes for plate-licking platters like Peanut Butter Carrot Puppy Biscuits, Organic Banana Carob Vegan Cupcakes, and Organic Banana Carob Dog-Friendly Vegan Cupcakes. If don’t have a spare minute to spend in the kitchen, leave the snack-making to the pros. For an appetizing entrée, these Handmade Sweet Potato Dog Biscuits from Alice’s Dog Treats will do nicely, while your furry-friend will yelp for joy at these Ginger Dog Treats from cruelty-free confectionary Sticky Fingers.