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Being a vegetarian at Christmas when your family eats meat

I have recently become a vegetarian. I hate the concept of eating animals and I feel like the 'black sheep' of my family. I watch them eating corpses with relish and I feel disgusted. When I grow up, I will be a vegan, but my parents hate veganism and I have to pretend to hate it as well.

As it is nearly Christmas, this will only get worse, as my family will be having a roast turkey 😝. Cooking Christmas dinner is difficult enough for my dad without having to make something separate for me, and we don't know what I will have as I don't like nut roast. I don't really like the school holidays, as I have to put up with my family for two whole weeks. Sometimes I snap at them without meaning to. I know they only want the best for me and I am trying to be grateful for that, but I don't fit in with them. I know this sounds weird, but I sometimes feel like an alien from another planet. I am not looking forward to the coming holidays, especially Christmas dinner.

Thank you for reading this,

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Sam

Hi there,

The holiday season can be hard for people with specific diets or eating problems . Lots of people are vegetarian and vegan, this particular diet is not unusual at all, but when everyone around you has a different diet it can be challenging. So much of the festive season involves food that it can be particularly stressful at this time of year.

There is no right or wrong diet - it's okay to be vegetarian and it's okay to eat meat. Everyone has the right to choose what they eat and what they don't. Nobody should judge you for it and it's important to accept that it's likely that people around you won’t t always share your views on what's okay to eat. Your family should support your choices but this doesn't always happen and it can make the change from one diet to another even more difficult.

If you have only recently become a vegetarian then not eating meat at Christmas may be difficult. By next Christmas you may have a better idea of the kind of foods you can eat but for this first time it might be a challenge. The best thing to do would be to talk to others who have a similar diet. The Childline - message boards may be a good place to start.

You can also look for recipe books or videos online about vegetarian Christmas food. Vegetarianism is very common so it shouldn't be difficult to find ideas and advice out there if you look for it. If you’re worried about your dad making two different things, perhaps you could offer to help cook. Cooking together might become a new tradition and something you can both enjoy.

I hope this has helped but remember that Childline is open 24 hours a day, every day - even over Christmas and New Year. There's always someone here to listen if you need to talk to a counsellor.

Thanks for your letter,

Take care,

Sam

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