Let’s face it: not everyone can swallow that you have chosen a compassionate lifestyle.
It could seem foreign, against tradition, and most jarringly, it could force others to reflect on the conflicting values in their own minds.
Consequently, it may take a while for your family and friends to understand what veganism means for your lifestyle, let alone ‘wake up’ themselves.
A thoughtful, non-vegan holiday gift may be given to you with the best of intentions, with the giver not realizing that it contains animal products.
Look back to a time when you weren’t vegan, when you had no idea the amount of cruelty laced in or lurking behind many of your beloved foods and products.
Remember that place and, with compassion, understand that many others are where you were, right now.
Here are three approaches you can take to best handle the awkward situation of receiving a non-vegan gift:
1. Refuse, Thank, Educate
If the person seems open and receptive to veganism, thanking them and politely explaining why you cannot accept the gift might be the perfect opportunity to educate someone else. The key is to be kind and gracious first, and follow with the message second.
2. Thank & Return
This is where the adage, “pick your battles” may apply. If the giver is not ready to hear your beliefs, and you’re certain it would incite a negative response, you may want to thank them for the gift and discretely return the item to where it was purchased.
3. Thank & Accept
If the gift is homemade, you may be able to accept it and understand that veganism isn’t always about perfection. Consider the intention behind the gift, and remind yourself that everyone is at a different place on the path of waking up.
By accepting someone’s offering of kindness, you will have created space for them to hear your voice in the future. Many non-vegans operate from a place of unconscious unknowing.
However you choose to respond to a non-vegan gift, keep in mind the most important values that brought you to veganism in the first place: compassion and love.
One way to reduce your odds of receiving non-vegan gifts is by assembling your wish list with items such as those on our holiday gift guide!
And by making a concerted effort to give clearly vegan gifts to others, you send a message of what matters to you for future seasons.
Check out the gift guide, here.
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