posted November 9, 2021
Can you believe it’s November already? It seems that with every year that passes, time spins faster and faster. As the holiday season approaches, many of us are lucky enough to share time with friends and family. Catching up with our loved ones often involves long-established traditions, holiday rituals, inside jokes, recounting memories past, and sharing delicious food around the table.
I have wonderful memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood. Growing up in Michigan, watching the Lions lose was a tradition in our home. It was one of the few times each year when we were treated to Gramma’s Parker House rolls (I haven’t quite mastered her recipe, try as I might). Before our meal we always held hands and shared reasons to be grateful. I was always thankful to have a full table, a warm home, and to be surrounded with so much love.
After adapting a vegan lifestyle, I suffered in silence through my first few holiday meals because I felt an obligation to uphold those family traditions. It caused me pain to sit at the table with a friend as the centerpiece. “You’ve always been the dramatic child,” I was reminded. Through time, being vegan became more ingrained in who I am as an individual, and I could not sit through another meal where the guest of honor was being roasted and carved. In 2015, Vegan Social Clubs held its first annual Thanksliving potluck. I opened my home and fifty-seven vegans showed up with cruelty-free intentions on a lovely sunny Thursday afternoon. It seems I’m not the only dramatic child who desired a different way to celebrate this American tradition.
The Annual Vegan Friendsgiving-Thanksliving Potluck became an epic event within our Atlanta vegan community. Throughout the afternoon and late into the evening, attendees rotated through my home with vegan versions of traditional holiday dishes. Every room was bursting with happiness as friends caught up with one another and new connections were made. We often ended the night with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. Due to coronavirus, our last Vegan Social Clubs Friendsgiving-Thanksliving was held in 2019 and over 130 people celebrated the day.
Here it is—2021—and we are once again at a crossroads. With a medically “at-risk” family member, it would be irresponsible to host a large potluck event. Still, we yearn to uphold holiday traditions as in years past. We are seeking that feeling of fellowship and togetherness, desiring love in abundance from friends near and far. Although enjoyable, Zoom-hosted happy hours, online social events, and virtual cookie swaps leave us wanting more. Fortunately, the magic of the holiday season often lies in intangible offerings, and the flavor of love infused dishes tops the list. Here’s a staple holiday dish I’ve served at every Friendsgiving-Thanksliving since 2015. Wishing you all a full table, a warm home and plenty of love through the remainder of 2021 and into the new year.
Recipe for a Peaceful Thanksliving
- 4 cups of Compassion
- 2 cups of Kindness
- 2 cups of Empathy
- Generous helping of Patience
- 5 spoonfuls of Understanding
- Heaps of Friendship
- Pinch of Forgiveness
- Dash of Respect
- 1 Barrel of Laughter
- Love to taste
- An extra sprinkle of Hope
- Take compassion and kindness, mix thoroughly with empathy.
- Blend in patience and understanding, add friendship and forgiveness.
- Sprinkle generously with respect.
- Cover with laughter, add love to taste and garnish with all the hope your heart can hold.
Makes a great dish for holidays, but a delicious offering at any time of the year.
Cris Comer, founder of Vegan Social Clubs, is a 2018 graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her 16-year-old son, Charlie, and two dogs. Cris fights food insecurities by planting community gardens and teaches vegan shopping and cooking classes to those willing to learn.