Think about your current traditions - birthday, holidays, Halloween, or even weekly traditions that you and your family observe. Traditions are unique and usually hold many memories. Because of that, I don’t think traditions should be done away with, just altered a bit to add more compassionate and humane choices. With your traditions in mind - how do they currently affected fellow humans and non-human animals? What kind of impact do they have on the planet? What can be altered to make your traditions more compassionate? Can you eliminate animal ingredients from your meals while celebrating your traditions? Before buying a random gift for any occasion, stop to think about how that gift will impact those areas.
Cities and states across the U.S. are starting to scrap the idea of Columbus Day and instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in October (Yan, 2018). Both Columbus Day and Thanksgiving is a celebration of finding America and the first successful harvest. But Columbus didn’t really discover America because there were already people living peacefully here (and ones who knew how to be a good steward to the land and grow the food they needed). Columbus essentially paved the path for many new people to travel and explore America, but it also planted the seed to exile Native Americans from their home and lands.
53. Rethink Halloween goodies
Halloween is only a few weeks away - can you rethink the Halloween candy that you give out each year? Marsha Rakestraw, the author of the Humane Connection Blog, recently wrote a great blog post about Halloween goodies where she said, “However, not only do all those wrappers generate a lot of waste, but candy has some skeletons hidden away in the closet. Candy made with animal products (such as dairy, eggs, and/or gelatin), supports the suffering of and cruelty to farmed and wild animals. And there is a sad but real connection between chocolate and slavery, including child slavery” (Rakestraw, 2018). She also listed some great resources for candy-alternative trick-or-treat goodies, which you can find on Treehugger.com and on Going Zero Waste.
54. Rethink your Thanksgiving dinner (and any holiday meal)
It's estimated that nearly 46 million turkeys are farmed and killed for Thanksgiving dinner each year ("Thanksgiving’s Toll," n.d.). Dan Kedmey also wrote for TIME.com that, “Americans consume an estimated 22 million turkeys on Christmas. They also purchase an estimated 318 million pounds of ham around the holidays” (Kedmey, 2014). Farm Sanctuary states, "The incredible stress of being overcrowded on factory farms can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes. Rather than give the birds more space, producers commonly address the issue by cutting off portions of turkeys’ beaks and toes with shears, a hot blade, or a high-voltage electrical current. These painful mutilations, which are inflicted on newly hatched baby turkeys, are unaccompanied by any pain relief or anesthetic” ("Thanksgiving’s Toll," n.d.). Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving by cooking a turkey this year, celebrate life by trying one of the many animal-friendly Thanksgiving meals below!
Vegan Cheese Plate Appetizer
Gardein Holiday Roast
Green Bean Casserole
Mac and Cheese
I do still shop on Black Friday, but I limit my purchases to items that I use on a daily basis such as cat litter. Buying cat litter on this day saves me a lot of money on a product that is a necessity. Some people shop on Black Friday because it could the only time they can afford certain products. But then some people buy on this day because it is an obsession and addiction. I think I will forever get excited about seeing all of the sales ads for the stores and knowing that they are open during my bouts of insomnia. Because I used to be so addicted to shopping, writing about it has become a passionate topic for me. I even wrote a blog post about it last year. In it I give some ideas on how you can rethink your holiday gift giving - including provide an experience, make a gift, give the gift of food, buy a gift from a second-hand store or thrift store, visit an animal sanctuary, have a volunteer date, or make a pact not to buy anything at all. Is Black Friday shopping a necessity for you or just a desire?
56. Guilted into buying gifts
My husband once told me that he only shopped at the jewelry stores for my gifts because he felt guilty after seeing the jewelry store commercials during the holidays. He said he believed that it was indeed what I wanted, even though I have never worn much jewelry. He bought me beautiful necklaces, pendants, and earrings. I still wear them, but I feel guilty for not wearing them as often as I think I should. Have you or do you currently feel guilted or pressured into buying gifts? My family stopped buying gifts for one another many years ago. Now, we either make or buy one gift (under $15 usually) that we exchange during some made up game.
The best game was when my brother read a story, and every time he said a particular word we had to pass the gift either left or right. I have never seen my family laugh as much or as hard as they did that night. I don’t recall the gifts I have received during these games (except for the birdhouse my uncle handcrafted from old license plates), but I do remember the games and laughter.
Plus my husband and I have been making holiday cookies in honor of his mother. She passed away several years ago, but making cookies with her is a fond memory for him. One that we choose to continue and remember her with each bite.
“Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless. Christmas dinner's dark and blue. When you stop and try to see it From the turkey's point of view.
Sunday dinner isn't sunny. Easter feasts are just bad luck. When you see it from the viewpoint of a chicken or a duck. Oh how I once loved tuna salad Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too Till I stopped and looked at dinner From the dinner's point of view.”
― Shel Silverstein