In general the holidays can be a stressful time, but even more so when you’re a vegan or vegetarian surrounded by meat-eating friends and family who do not understand your lifestyle and dietary choices. This Thanksgiving though, why not start-up your own new, cruelty-free Thanksgiving traditions! Check out our suggestions below for ideas and inspiration.

Attend a Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck!

Come together with other like-minded people this Thanksgiving by attending a vegan potluck or other holiday event! Not sure where to find such events? Then check out Meetup and search for local vegan happenings, or simply go on Facebook and look for vegan groups to join and ask around there!

Sponsor a Turkey at a Local Animal Sanctuary!

Approximately 46 million turkeys are slaughtered each year for Thanksgiving, but there are still living turkeys located at local animal sanctuaries who need food, clean water, shelter and veterinary care and the best way to ensure that those turkeys get that, is by sponsoring one with a monetary donation! Here are some New York animal sanctuaries who would love it if you sponsored one of their turkeys!

One of the turkey residents at Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary in Northport, NY! Contact them today if you're interested in becoming a volunteer!

One of the turkey residents at Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary in Northport, NY! Contact them today if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer!

Make One of the Many Meatless Holiday Roasts!

From Gardein, to Field Roast, To Tofurky and beyond, there are many vegetarian/vegan companies who make their own versions of traditional holiday spreads and main dishes which are not only convenient, but tasty too! Here are just some of the options out there:

Field Roast

Gardein

Field Roast

Gardein's Lightly Breaded Turk’y Cutlets spotted at Stop and Shop.

Gardein’s Lightly Breaded Turk’y Cutlets spotted at Stop and Shop. And it comes with gravy!

Volunteer Your Time & Skills to an Animal Sanctuary!

Whether it’s just for Thanksgiving day itself, or you’re looking to get into volunteering on a more permanent basis, show your thanks by giving back to animals! Volunteer your time as an animal caretaker working one-on-one with the animals, use your professional and social skills by starting a fundraiser for a local rescue or sanctuary, the volunteering possibilities are truly endless!

Spread Awareness by Leafleting Leading Up to Thanksgiving!

Start planting seeds of knowledge and compassion in others by leafleting leading up to Thanksgiving! Find a populated place with a decent amount of foot traffic, like a college campus or a shopping center, and start talking to people about living a kinder life. Here are some leafleting tips from PETA and different animal rights leaflets/pamphlets you can order to hand out!

Host a Viewing of an Animal Rights/Vegan Documentary!

After having a delicious cruelty-free meal, why not sit back and round out the night with a showing of an educational and enlightening vegan documentary or movie! From Vegucated, to Okja, to Live and Let Live, there are more than a handful of vegan movies and documentaries available to watch right from Netflix!