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I am worried my secret veganism will ruin Christmas Day

Q: I haven’t told my meat-loving family that I’ve turned vegan. I’m worried they will find out on Christmas Day and I will ruin the festivities. What should I do?
H.E., Manly, NSW 

Illustration by Simon Letch.Credit:

A: Well, if you don’t tell them, you’re going to go hungry. Christmas meals tend to be pretty carnivorous affairs. They’re mostly big chunks of dead animal, smothered in animal blood gravy, followed by creamy animal by-product desserts, served to a table of ravenous wild animals looking like a pack of savannah hyenas wearing Christmas hats.

So if you don’t say anything, your family will probably know something’s up when they spot you sitting there, looking miserable, trying to suck the nutrients out of scraps of Christmas cracker paper. Although maybe you shouldn’t: the paper could be colour-dyed with crushed cochineal insects. Sorry.

Yes, you should tell them before the big day. Offer to bring your own vegan dishes. And reassure them that you still love and respect them – but that you won’t go near them for 30 minutes after they’ve eaten meat, until the death scent of slaughtered sentient being has worn off. Then, on Christmas Day, everyone can relax and you can enjoy the festivities in a committed, vegan way.

During the gift-giving, avoid sitting on the couch stuffed with feathers that were plucked from cruelly exploited ducks and geese. When drinks are served, do not sip any unethical champagne, possibly containing gelatin derived from fish bladders (as delicious as a glass of bubbly fish bladder can be).

And when playing the traditional game of backyard cricket, try not to touch the cricket ball made from tanned, lacquered cow leather. If it’s coming towards you, let it bounce off your face. Share the pain of the poor murdered cow. It’s only fair.

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