Every year for Thanksgiving I have a tradition. I give a donation to an organization that I feel is really making a difference. Back in my struggling student days it may only have been $20, if that’s all I could afford, but it was always something. It seems appropriate since Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. This year we have chosen to support Vegan Outreach. It’s our way of giving thanks for the great work that they do. This year, through the generosity of matching donors, any donation made to Vegan Outreach before December 31st will compound that thanks because it will be doubled.

Thanksgiving dinner itself is not necessarily the best time to stridently promote veganism. You could end up unintentionally alienating your family members. It is however a great time to learn which approach to take with each person. Listen, this Thanksgiving, to your relatives. What are their health concerns? Do they like to cook? Are they animal lovers? What better gift for the holidays than something that reflects their needs. With the plethora of books promoting veganism and plant based diets there is something for everyone. Give them the book for Christmas (or Chanukah or Kwanza) that will most resonate with them. Next year they may be thanking you – for better health, great new recipes, or a more peaceful spirit. It is really important to give each individual the item that will most appeal to them. We love The China Study because we love science, but many people prefer the Engine 2 Diet because it is more straightforward and practical. We share both often, keeping in mind the person on the receiving end. We always try to give the one most likely to make a difference in their life. Some people prefer DVDs to books. Tailor the gift to the recipient. Just because you love The Face on Your Plate doesn’t mean that it will be well received by your uncle Joe who loves to hunt. If his cholesterol is high and he is on blood pressure meds then Caldwell Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease may be a far better choice.

Even if you don’t succeed in veganizing your relatives completely, the materials that you provide them with may lead to more openess and a better understanding of your position. Something, that someday, could take them all the way forward. Later this month, we will publish a list of our holiday gift suggestions, based on needs and likes of the people who may be receiving them. Until then, we’d love to find out what some of yours are. Please share them with us.