A Vegan Guide to the Holiday Season

Some of us try and use this time of year as an opportunity to shine a little light on the reality of what Thanksgiving means for those whose bodies are to become centerpieces on the tables of over 45 million American homes.

As a vegan, it’s hard not to feel heavy-hearted around Thanksgiving time. As we shared in 2019:

At this time of year, families across the United States are preparing to turn the bodies of over 45 million unique miracles of nature — bodies once filled to overflowing with young life and the desire to continue living — into the centerpieces of Thanksgiving “feasts” for diners in this most affluent of nations to gorge themselves on until literally sick with the pains of indulged gluttony. And in another month, turkeys in numbers so large as to be incomprehensible will be killed (as adolescents, just like all those we consider to be production units for “meat”) to be turned into Christmas celebration meals all over the world.

Anyone familiar with animal sanctuary operations can confirm that turkeys are sensitive, social beings who nurture and protect their young and have a rich inner experience of life that is unique to each individual. Even when they are stressed and confined in concentration camps (whether “free-range” or otherwise), they have a passionate will to live.

Following is a collection of some of our favorite Thanksgiving links. We hope our readers will use them to make their own holiday experience more meaningful, and maybe even to share with others the truth about who turkeys could be to us, if we would only open our hearts to them: fellow sentients with a wealth of remarkable qualities to be thankful for.


Here in Gentle World, the only reminder of the upcoming holiday is the occasional sound of free-living turkeys, chatting among themselves as they wander by our property during their meanderings around the neighborhood that surrounds us… The extraordinary sounds issuing forth from throats belonging to birds beyond my scope of vision translate inside my heart into feelings of delight in response, for which I am filled with gratitude. I’ve said in previous Novembers that to be blessed with a sighting of a turkey free in nature is all the Thanksgiving I need, but I have learned this year that I’m almost as content to settle for hearing one of their voices. I am officially thankful.

Sun Day

Melvin has been strutting up and down the hallway since dawn… After a while, he turns around slowly, laboriously, toilsomely, and drags himself back to the kitchen, heaving, and wheezing and staggering on gouty legs, then embarks again on the arduous, 20 step trek to the front door, parading in full celebration gear, big as a carnival float and as jubilantly bedecked as one It’s Sunday. At least that’s what our calendars say – Sunday, the cusp of a new week – but, to Melvin, in Melvin’s sense of time, it’s something else, something brighter and luckier.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Free Range Turkeys

Increasingly, as consumers are becoming more aware of the extreme cruelty of animal farming, free-range, organic and ‘natural’ animal products are gaining popularity. What many people don’t realize, however, is that animals raised under these labels frequently suffer through much of the same torment as those in standard factory farming operations.

During the holiday season, some find it comforting and inspiring to attend a celebration of veganism, and many such events can be found on Facebook or Meetup. Those new to the vegan way of life might be surprised to learn that there are established vegan Thanksgiving traditions in some cities, including one hosted by The NYC Vegan Meetup, where three different venues have been booked this year to meet growing demand for a vegan holiday gathering.

Being surrounded by other vegans, or simply attending a 100% vegan event can be a welcome experience, allowing us to envision a world where holiday meals are transformed into a true celebration of peace and gratitude, where traditional fare is replaced by clean, wholesome foods that are free from violence and incredibly delicious.

Whatever vegan dishes you enjoy, or even if you decide to fast in protest, remember that there is still much to be thankful for.

As expressed in the writing above, we agree with the sentiment of Joanna Lucas in her powerful piece What We’re Thankful For, where she acknowledges “the growing number of hearts who refuse to ignore this atrocity, refuse to support it, refuse to perpetuate it, and certainly, refuse to give thanks for it.”

The words of Gentle World’s co-founder Sun come to mind, from her 2013 piece Why I Love Vegans:

“When I look out into our sad, mad world, in which the laws of all lands perpetuate the slavery of animals, I see the violence and cruelty such prejudice breeds. I see the terrifying plight of its victims. I see the unbearable burden it places on the collective conscience of humanity. 

And I am heavy-hearted.

Then, I turn my gaze to the horizon, and my heart is lifted at the sight of the rising tide of vegans… each one living proof that it’s possible for human beings to evolve their nature from that of predator to one of protector.”

Distant silhouettes of people standing in front of colorful sunset clouds

Why I Love Vegans

Vegans recognize the inherent right of every animal, human or otherwise, to be the sole owner of his or her body, and they acknowledge our ethical responsibility to treat every body with respect and even reverence for the mystery that gives them life.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Summer

    I am deeply moved by all the articles and some of course more than others. All and all my heart feels even more than ever the need to release our beloved animal friends from their bondage and torment.

    I am so sorry turkey friends for your suffering today Thanksgiving but everyday that your life is shortened. You are so beautiful.

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